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Bring the Garden Alive with Birds, Avian Décor for the Yard

Updated on March 02, 2017
Ilonagarden profile image

Ilona has gardened actively for most of her life, and been a writer and webmaster online since 1998. Homeschooled all 10 of her children.

All about birdbath benefits... in the interest of attracting birds to your garden. Do you know the no-no's for a safe bath?

Welcome Avian Friends

An essential (or make that plural) is anything that invites birds to feel at home in the garden. I like all the bird attractions: bird baths, bird houses, bird feeders. The animation and sound they give the landscape, along with their helpful ways of diminishing the insect population make birds welcome in my garden.

Bird Baths

Besides, what is more charming than the design of these garden ornaments? Bird baths, by themselves, come in so many styles and colors! There is a style to match the architecture of our homes and provide an accent that gives joy to the eye. A style for every taste.

I have a generic type of bird bath that I remember in gardens everywhere when I was growing up. However, I am very tempted by some of the more modern designs. And one of the things to love about a bird bath is the sparkling reflection of sun rays glinting from the surface on a clear summer day.

Photo credit:SarahBelham
Photo credit:SarahBelham

Benefits the Gardener, Too

The Sound of Moving Water

Years ago I put in a little pond with a shallow descending waterfall. The sound of the water was most relaxing, and I enjoyed decking out the pond with a few water plants, playing around arranging rocks, and then sitting and letting the trickle of the waterfall mesmerize me.

Oh! I almost dozed off thinking about it... but there were others that the hypnotic sound of water began to attract- birds came to hop about the rocks, and briefly dip into the small areas that were made more shallow with the addition of rocks.

Sound that Attracts Birds

This highlighted to me the fact that birds are attracted to moving water. They love it. And there are "tricklers" available to create that asset for a bird bath.

Source

Brightly Colorful or Natural?

...and other tips.

Birds feel safer with a natural looking color and surface.

Give a bird cover near the bath.

Sloping edges are good.

A rock or pebbles on the bottom of the bath, for foot traction.

Oh, Dear

Hawks like them, too
Hawks like them, too | Source

Outside My Window - Favorite Birdwatching Spot

I have many places in my large yard to put bird baths, but I created a "Look-Into Garden" centered with an old fashioned pottery birdbath right outside my home's largest window.

Every day I look out there first thing in the morning, just to see the visitors splash around, having fun.

It is the robins, sparrows, and mourning doves that most take advantage of this part of the garden and its bath ornament. There are a resident pair of cardinals and other species which pass through, but they don't like to hang around "the pool" as much. Still, many like to take a sip before rushing off for whatever it is that is so important in their day.

For some reason I always consider it good luck to see a special bird or watch their prolonged interactions. Maybe it is just the cheering effect of their songs on my mind!

CATS

Of course, it isn't all peace and loveliness. I have cats, and there have been more than one time that the broad and shallow top piece has been tipped to the ground.

There is little that can be done about the cat's hunter instinct, but the placement of ornamental trees and shrubs in close proximity makes for a quick avian getaway and shelter.

A Heated Bath: a Welcome Luxury

Farm Innovators Model HBC-120 All Seasons Decorative Gray Stone Scalloped Heated Birdbath with Deck Mount, 120-Watt
Farm Innovators Model HBC-120 All Seasons Decorative Gray Stone Scalloped Heated Birdbath with Deck Mount, 120-Watt

Easily attaches to a railing, twist off top to aid dumping old water and cleaning, and hidden power cord.

Live in a cold climate?

Provides water for birds in cold weather temperatures when they need it most.

 

Peepers Welcome

Put the bird bath on view- where you can watch the avian bathing beauties enjoying the water.

Why Do Birdbaths Help Birds?

I don't know about you, but I usually have a birdbath in the garden for me. No, I don't mean to lead you into thinking I try to shock the neighbors with personally using one, but I add birdbaths to the garden because I think they are supremely decorative.

Yes, I like them better than mirror globes, fountains, or garden gnomes. Please understand if one of those are your personal favorites, but I would rather see a lovely birdbath of almost any design ornamenting the flower beds and green yards than any type of statuary or gizmo.

The reigning factor for including a birdbath above any other garden ornament, however, is the fact that this one will actually help your friends, the birds.

Birds will benefit from a bath space for their water source for more than one reason. Take a look at why these are not just great looking additions to our garden spaces, but good for wildlife, too.

Attract and Care

Attract and care for your feathered friends.
Attract and care for your feathered friends. | Source

How Does it Help?

Let's Count the Ways

  1. Birds need to drink water
  2. Bathing helps birds to maintain their plumage, keeping feathers functional.
  3. Like us, they need to keep clean, bathing removes dirt and oils. This keeps birds healthy.

Solid and dependable

I've had birdbaths as long as I have had a garden... and my grandmothers and mother before me, too. And most of us have had the common pottery types.

One big problem, well two really, is the fact that they crack and break. Especially the bath portion for the two piece models.

Every winter I have to store the tops, but cats have been known to break them, in their eagerness to pounce on a bird. this is why I want my next birdbath to be just like the cast stone one featured here.

It would handle our cold climate weather better, be sturdy enough to withstand a "cat attack", and its natural, rugged texture in a pleasing design is just the type of beautiful garden ornament I love.

If you get one, I will be so jealous.

Glastonbury Manor Celtic Style Cast Stone Bird Bath
Glastonbury Manor Celtic Style Cast Stone Bird Bath

Besides great looks, this has the features recommended for a healthy birdbath:

*shallow

*made for outdoors

*made of cast stone, to not crack or chip

 

Watch Out for These Conditions

A shallow rough surface like the concave carved stone hold water and will be safe.
A shallow rough surface like the concave carved stone hold water and will be safe. | Source

Characteristics of Best Baths, Problems to Avoid

Not all birdbaths are equally beneficial for birds. Possible problems?

  • Too Deep - According to the National Audubon Society, birds in the wild bathe in pebble strewn, quite shallow pools. One to two inch depths are ideal
  • Too Slippery - Glazed surfaces might be attractive to your eye, but not give a good grip to small birds trying to land safely in the bath.
  • Tough To Clean - You like clean water, and birds needs their bathing areas to hold fresh clean water, too. Smooth surface that can be easily scrubbed on occasion will work well

Must Purchase?

No, is the simple answer. We tend to like the artistic ornamental value of a pretty birdbath, but simple ones that are DIY from re-used materials work just as well.

Frugal Repurposing to Make Your Own

  • Old saucer shaped snow sleds?
  • Frying pans?
  • Salad bowl with pruned tree branch legs?

Get creative and simply remember to use shallow, easy to clean, non-slippery vessels.

Some people like to make impressions in concrete, or reuse old trash can lids, others find terra cotta pot saucers on various types of pedestals (old tree stump, anyone?) to be an invitation to their local birds.

Where do you stand on bird baths?

See results

Various Places in Your Spaces

Provide a number of water sources in different parts of your yard. It mimics nature better, and helps various birds to enjoy their water source, not congregating with birds of a different feather. (Helps cut down on diseases, aggression, etc)

Comments

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    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E. Franklin 2 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      My home office, where I spend most of my time, looks out on trees where I can see birds. But there isn't really a place for a birdbath. Still, I enjoyed reading this.

    • notsuperstitious1 profile image

      Edith Rose 2 years ago from Canada

      Yes, I am going to get a birdbath for my garden. Thanks for writing.

    • Ilonagarden profile image
      Author

      Ilona E 2 years ago from Ohio

      Yay! Your birds will be happy and I think you will enjoy the show.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 2 years ago from USA

      I do have a birdbath and a fountain for my outdoor friends, but I would like to add more. The squirrels need a place too :)

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 2 years ago from Jersey Shore

      We love birdbaths in our yard too and you have featured some lovely ones here.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      So far I only have one birdbath, but there are two small ponds with shallow sections in the front garden, where I often see a pair of ravens bathing. The smaller birds tend to go for the birdbath outside the study window. Your garden looks beautiful.

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