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Sunday, August 30, 2020

Choosing the Best Birdbath



Zebra Finch



We all prefer birdbaths that add beauty and whimsy to our yards, but the birds themselves may be looking for something else, things that were designed for them in mind.



Birds not only need water to drink and stay hydrated, but also to bathe, preen, and keep cool. A backyard birdbath can be especially important in dry areas where natural water sources are unpredictable or droughts are common.



We all know that birds look for birdbaths that are shallow, have good footing for them, have cover from predators nearby, and are shady and clean.  But the kind of material that birdbaths are made of is also an important consideration.


While concrete, ceramic, and plastic bird baths are the most common, other popular materials include metal, particularly copper or brass, glass, and stone.



Having an understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the materials that birdbaths are made of may help you choose which one is right for your yard.






Metal Birdbaths


Advantages


Among all the popular materials for birdbaths, metal is one of the most flexible and versatile options.  They come in a variety of different designs, some very beautiful and will enhance the aesthetics of your yard.


They are very durable, which is a huge positive for any outdoor item.  They will last longer than most other kinds of material that birdbaths are made from.


Metal will naturally heat up the water a bit if placed in the sun. This may not be enough, though, to keep the water from freezing.



Disadvantages


If the finish is too smooth, however, there may not be much grip or traction for visiting birds.


And because they can retain heat, they might get too hot to be comfortable for birds in mid-summer.




Concrete Birdbaths

Advantages


They are available in a variety of styles so chances are you can find one that fits your garden color scheme.


They are durable. 


They are solid and won't blow over in heavy winds. If placed in your front yard, you can be reasonably sure it won't be easily carried off.


Probably your best bet for its ease of cleaning. If you decide to make a change, you can use outdoor paint and paint them for an updated look.


Disadvantages


Concrete can be very porous so you would need to clean it more often than other types to avoid an algae buildup.


Concrete can develop cracks and leaks if left out over a few rough winters.


It's very heavy which can make it very difficult to clean or reposition to a new spot in the yard,




Cast Stone Birdbaths


Advantages



Gives birds a good footing that is enticing to nervous birds.


Solid and heavy and stay firmly in place.


Disadvantages


One of the most expensive options. 


Stone can be brittle and can break if tipped over.

  • Cast stone is porous so it will require extra scrubbing to keep it clean and bacteria-free.

  • They can absorb water, which expands and may cause cracking in freezing temperatures. 

  • You may need to bring a concrete birdbath indoors for cold weather unless you add a heater to keep the water from freezing.







Polyresin Birdbaths


Advantages


Polyresin is durable so there's not much concern that it will break or become damaged if it's toppled.


The birdbaths come in a variety or ornate styles with delicate shapes so you're sure to find one that matches the aesthetics of your yard.


Maintenance of resin is a simple process.  You just need to keep the product clean with warm water combined with a mild all-purpose household cleaner and a soft brush. 


Disadvantages


Polyresin products are sensitive to solvents like paint thinners, acetone, and nail polish remover. If you're using a fountain in your polyresin birdbath, you should use distilled or bottled water to avoid hard water deposits.


If unprotected, polyresin (also called resin) birdbaths will deteriorate more quickly than cast stone or concrete.

Birdbaths made of resin that are kept outdoors in the elements will fade and possibly peel over time.


Currently there is not a great process to repair cracks or chips in resin.







Ceramic Birdbaths

    Advantages

      Let's face it.  They're beautiful!  

        Easier to clean than porous concrete.  Just use a solution of nine parts of water to one part of distilled white vinegar and scrub.

        Many bird lovers find them to be more attractive than concrete.


        Disadvantages


      Ceramics by their nature, are rather easily broken, so you need to choose your spot wisely.

      Some ceramic birdbaths come in two pieces that can be secured together to lessen the chance of chipping or toppling.

      • The glaze may be too slick for birds to get good footing on.  You can add pea gravel or stones in the bottom of the birdbath to give birds a better footing.

      • Freezing temperatures can cause ceramic to expand and crack so they need to be brought inside during most areas cold winters.



      • Copper Birdbaths

      Advantages

      Copper is a very durable material that stands up well to the outdoors.


      Copper can be textured or smooth depending on the look you want.


      The copper gives the bowl some natural antibacterial protection. You can let it naturally patina or clean it as you prefer.



      Disadvantages



      Copper birdbaths must still be cleaned regularly to remove all unwanted growths. 



      Copper's effect on wildlife has not been widely studied, but there are no known complications for birds drinking or bathing in water exposed to copper.




      • Glass Birdbaths


      • Advantages

      • They're beautiful.

      • They are usually lightweight so they can be easily moved.


      • Disadvantages


      Since they are light-weight, they can be easily broken or chipped. 


      Getting them shipped to your home may be tricky in itself. 


      If the stand or pedestal is also made of glass, it may need some extra support to keep it upright, especially if you get strong winds.


      The surface of glass, like ceramic, is slick. Birds are notoriously nervous creatures and may pass up landing on a surface that they feel doesn't have good footing for them.


      Glass also gets brittle in the colder weather and needs to be taken in for the winters.



      ~~~~~~~~~~

      It's time to get some birdbaths for your yard and keep those feathered friends as frequent visitors.


      ~~~~~~~~~~





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