Water – A Necessary Resource For Wild Birds All Year

Providing Water All Year

Have you ever noticed the glee that birds display as they spread their wings and splash in a bird bath? They ARE truly happy, not only because they have a source of drinking water, but also a place to clean their bodies and preen their wings. So…winter, summer, spring and fall…providing a water source is necessary to complete your bird habitat for the birds that you attract. It is a necessary compliment to any food nourishment that you offer. And doing so will provide additional assurance that your visitors will continue to return.

Bird Baths

A bird bath is the most popular receptacle to provide the water source that birds seek. Make sure that the bird bath you provide is not too deep (2-3 inches on average). Your feathered friends like to stand in the water and splash to clean themselves and also to cool their bodies in hot weather. You may even decide to add a few flat rocks or an over-turned shallow dish in the bottom of your bird bath to be used as additional places for birds to stand, particularly if the bird bath is a touch deep.

A bird bath is a gathering spot for the parasites, loose feathers, dust and other dirt and debris that accumulate over time as birds clean themselves. So in extremely hot weather particularly, be sure to clean the water regularly. If you do not, there is a risk of disease. Stagnant, warm water is notorious for prompting the formation of mildew and algae.


Not only is moving water a fantastic attraction to birds, but circulating water can help to limit disease forming and subsequently spreading. Some options to consider to keep your bird bath water in motion…

  • Many fountain bird baths provide a constant vertical spray of water which is irresistible. A fountain also offers a continuous source of fresh water and will continue water circulation at the same time.
  • You may also place a “water wiggler” in your bird bath to provide circulation. West Nile virus, spread by mosquitoes, is another serious problem. But a water wiggler creates agitator action, providing continuous ripples in the water which prevents mosquitoes from laying their eggs.

Types of Bird Baths

  • Pedestal – Pedestal bird baths come in numerous configurations and designs, but typically stand 2-4 feet above ground and feature a dish 2-3 inches deep. Material can be metal, ceramic, stone, granite or plastic.
  • Dish or Saucer – You may use just a dish or saucer too without the pedestal. Place on a deck railing or bench for instance. The effect is the same.
  • Heated/Non-Heated – Some bird baths are actually heated themselves. Or you can add a heater to the dish in freezing temperatures. Water wigglers are a terrific addition to any heated bath in winter.
  • Solar – As the term implies, solar bird baths are powered by the sun’s rays to power the fountain effect of the bird bath.

No matter the choice you make, a bird bath will bring you the added satisfaction and pleasure of enhanced bird traffic. A consistent, clean and if possible, active and moving water source is essential for birds all year…winter, summer, spring and fall. So enjoy! A bird bath is a very inexpensive way to assure that you continue to see many wild birds in the habitat that you provide.