If you’ve just purchased a bird bath and want to know how to get birds to use it, or if you’re not seeing any birds in your garden after having a bird bath for a while this article is for you. We take a look at how to attract birds to a bird bath.
Fresh clean water
It is important to supply birds with fresh clean water to drink and bathe in, this means regularly emptying and refilling your bird bath, so the water does not become stagnant. Dirty water will not only put off birds visiting but can be dangerous to those who do drink or bathe in the water. Cleaning is a key part to keeping your bird bath water clean, regular cleaning will stop the build-up of bacteria on the bath itself and will help keep the water cleaner for longer. For advice on cleaning take a read of our article, how to clean a bird bath.
Bird bath position
Birds are at their most vulnerable when eating, drinking or bathing, as a prey animal they are very skittish and can scare easily. Finding a position in your garden which makes the birds feel safe to visit can be tricky, but it is essential in order to attract more birds to your bird bath. Here are some tips on the best location for a bird bath:
  • Ensure the bath has a 360 view of the garden, this will help the birds look out for predators and feel safer.
  • Place the bird bath near to a tree or bush, birds will use this as an escape route if they begin to feel threatened whilst drinking.
  • Make sure the bird bath isn’t too close to a tree or fence that predators such as cats might use to hide in and sneak up on the birds whilst they are drinking or bathing. Prickly bushes can help to deter cats and provide shelter for birds.
  • Pick a spot with shade for the summer months, water can heat up and evaporate very quickly in the sun.
  • For the winter months you may wish to move the bird bath to a sunnier spot where the sun can help keep the water from freezing.
Bird bath design
Birds prefer natural materials that blend into the environment, such as wood or stone. A bright coloured bird bath may look great in your garden, but the birds could become suspicious of the unfamiliar object and may be more reluctant to use bird baths that look out of place. Keep to natural colours and materials where possible and you’re more likely to see birds using your bird bath.
Depth of water
Birds prefer to bathe in shallow pools of water, deep water is too dangerous for many birds to bathe in. Keeping the water at a depth of 2 inches or less is ideal for small birds to bath and drink from. If you have a deeper bird bath you can consider raising the level of the base by placing some pea gravel or flat stones to allow birds to bathe in varying depths of water. When using stones in the bottom of a bird bath make sure to clean them first and ensure that they are level and will not move or slide when a bird lands on them. Any movement will scare the birds that do visit and discourage them from returning. Adding stones to your bird bath will help birds gain a better footing when drinking or bathing.
Bird bath height
Wild birds tend to bath and drink at a low height, just off the ground or low down to the ground. This is where they would naturally find water so are more comfortable drinking and bathing at this level. When looking to purchase a bird bath consider its height, bird baths closer to the ground may attract more birds than very tall decorative baths.