‘Every Body into the Pool!’ I feel that this is what the birds are communicating to each other lately. I have two bird baths on the go and they need to be refreshed two or three times a day.
The sparrows all get along in the bath, once one jumps in the rest follow. I’ve witnessed eight of them splashing and bathing at the same time. Some of the other birds prefer a private bath. The Red-winged Blackbird is one of these. Both the male and female will chase other birds out of the bird bath if it’s their turn. The Robin is another solitary bather. A major bath by this fellow requires the bath to be filled… again.
I have chosen to have the bird baths at different levels, one on the ground and the other on a pedestal. In the ground bath I have added a solar fountain/bubbler. The birds seem to like this, and it adds a nice water feature to the deck. Water Wigglers are also available. The continuous movement of water not only attracts birds, but also prevents mosquitoes from laying their eggs. If you’re changing the water frequently you won’t need to worry about mosquito larvae.
Small ponds are also great for the birds. Mosquito Dunks can be added to these to kill the mosquitoes before they’re old enough to bite. One unit will be effective for 30 days and will not harm fish or other wildlife.
Location and size are important factors to consider when purchasing a birth bath. Most song birds prefer shallow water, no more than two inches deep. If you have a bird bath that is deeper than that, consider adding a flat stone to the bath to accommodate the smaller birds. Shade is good to keep the water cool, but if that isn’t an option for you, freeze a bowl of water at night to add to the bird bath in the morning. This is especially good if you’re not home to refresh the water during the day. Changing the water daily is advisable on hot summer days.
Birds will also need a place to preen their feathers after bathing. By placing the bath in a moderate distance to a tree, shrub or any other perching area you have, the birds to have something close to fly to, post bath. You don’t want to place it too close to the shrubs, predators such as cats could be lurking there.
Adding a bird bath to your garden not only helps the birds, but may attract some birds you wouldn’t usually see at the feeders. Tanagers, and different kinds of Thrushes may surprise you, maybe even an Indigo Bunting.
Author – Jane Paradis