Keepings Your Birdbaths Safe for Birds
It seems odd to say that yes, birdbaths can be unsafe for birds if not properly maintained. Luckily, there are three things to look for to make sure birds are safe in your birdbath.
- The Bath: When choosing a birdbath, there are three things to look for: depth, a lip, and washable surface. Depth is crucial to choosing a birdbath. If the bath is too deep or the slope is too steep, birds can drown. Look for a bath that is around 1-2”. If you already have a birdbath and notice it may be too deep or steep, add bricks or rocks to even the surface and fix the slope. Birds don’t actually bathe so much as they splash themselves with water. They need more of a deep puddle than a bath. There also needs to be a lip or a ledge where the birds can stand to drink without getting wet. A lip allows the bird to clench on with its feet. Lastly, stay away from traditional concrete as they foster algae growth and often crack due to temperature changes. Look for a smooth, washable surface that lowers the risk of bacteria growth.
- The Location: Place the birdbath in a shadowed area away from bird feeders and shrubs. Keeping the birdbath out of the sun slows down evaporation and algae growth, as well as keeps the water cooler. Because birds are often predatory, keeping the birdbath away from the bird feeder prevents possible altercations. Along bird feeders, keep the bath away from thick shrubs and plants where cats may hide.
- The Water: Do your best to keep the water fresh, ideally replacing it every day. Not only is it better for the birds, it prevents algae growth as well as the spread of disease between birds.
Keeping your birdbaths safe is essential to ensuring the birds that have made your backyard their home, keep coming back. Cultivating a bird friendly environment that is safe and useful will increase the chance new birds will come as well.