Water for Wildlife
Birds aren't the only ones that will benefit from a good water source in the garden... our water dishes will also provide a life-saving water supply to other incredible garden wildlife such as hedgehogs, pollinators, bats, amphibians and much more!
While bird food provides essential nutrients and energy, water is vital for their hydration, digestion, and overall survival.
To ensure the water remains appealing and safe for your garden birds and other wildlife, it's essential to follow a few guidelines:
- Clean the bird bath/water dish regularly to prevent the build-up of algae, bacteria, or contaminants.
- Replace the water every few days to keep it fresh and prevent stagnation.
- Avoid using chemicals, detergents, or additives in the water, as they may be harmful to birds.
- Place the bird bath in a visible and accessible location, preferably near trees or shrubs that provide perching and shelter opportunities for the birds.
What kind of bird baths do birds like best?
Birds generally prefer shallow water in their baths, typically no more than 1-2 inches deep. This allows them to comfortably wade in and splash around without the risk of submerging themselves. Garden birds also appreciate bird baths that offer perching spots around the edges or within the bath. These perching areas allow birds to rest, observe their surroundings, and preen their feathers after bathing.
Should you leave water out for birds?
Yes, leaving water out for birds is highly beneficial and recommended. Providing a consistent and reliable source of clean water, such as a bird bath or a shallow dish, can be a lifeline for birds, especially during dry or hot periods when natural water sources may become scarce.
- Hydration: Birds need access to clean water for drinking and staying hydrated. By leaving water out, you help ensure that birds have a readily available source of water, particularly during times when natural water sources may be limited or inaccessible.
- Cooling and Temperature Regulation: Birds do not have sweat glands and regulate their body temperature primarily through panting and maintaining their feathers. Water provides birds with the opportunity to bathe and wet their feathers, which helps cool them down during hot weather. By leaving water out, you provide birds with a means to regulate their body temperature and avoid heat stress.
- Feather Maintenance: Bathing is an essential behaviour for birds, and it helps them keep their feathers clean, flexible, and effective for flight. By leaving water out, you create an inviting space where birds can bathe and preen, removing dirt, dust, and parasites from their feathers, which contributes to their overall health and survival.
- Attracting Birds: A consistent water source can act as a magnet for birds, attracting a variety of species to your garden. By providing water, you create an environment that is conducive to bird activity, including drinking, bathing, socialising, and even nesting.
How to clean a bird bath
Cleaning your bird baths and water dishes is essential to maintain hygiene and prevent the spread of avian diseases. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to clean a bird bath effectively:
- Empty the Water: Start by emptying the existing water from the bird bath. If there is debris or leaves in the bath, remove them manually.
Scrub the Basin: Use a scrub brush or a soft-bristle brush to scrub the bird bath basin. Scrub thoroughly, paying attention to any algae or mineral deposits that may have accumulated.
- Rinse with Water: After scrubbing, rinse the bird bath thoroughly with clean water. Use a hose or a bucket of water to flush out any disinfectant residue or debris.
- Disinfect (optional): If desired, you can use non-toxic disinfectant on the bird bath for a deeper clean. We have a range of non-harmful solutions specifically for cleaning bird accessories. Follow the directions on the bottle.
- Clean the Perching Areas: If your bird bath has perching areas or decorative elements, make sure to clean them as well. Use a brush or a cloth to scrub these areas and remove any dirt or grime.
- Refill with Fresh Water: After cleaning and rinsing the bird bath, refill it with fresh water. Ensure the water level is appropriate for birds to drink and bathe comfortably (shallow depth of around 1-2 inches).
- Regular Maintenance: To keep the bird bath clean for longer periods, it's recommended to perform routine maintenance. This includes emptying and refilling the water every few days to prevent stagnation, removing debris and leaves as needed, and scrubbing the basin periodically to prevent the build-up of algae or deposits.
All cleaning accessories mentioned above can be found on our Bird Cleaning and Hygiene page.
Remember, it's important to avoid using harsh chemicals, detergents, or abrasive cleaners that could be harmful to birds. Stick to bird bath-specific cleaners to ensure the safety of the birds. By following these steps and maintaining a clean bird bath, you provide birds with a fresh and inviting water source that supports their health and well-being.
How to stop bird bath freezing
In winter months, when temperatures drop below -0ºC, your bird baths and water dishes are at risk of freezing over, and garden birds won't be able to access the water. However, there are a few methods you can do to avoid this. Empty your bird baths out every evening. This will prevent the water from freezing over at night. Fill it again with clean water in the morning, ready for your garden birds to enjoy. Another option is to use a bird bath de-icer. These devices are placed in the bird bath and generate enough heat to prevent the water from freezing.