Why Birds Aren't Using Your Birdbath
It’s been said that birdbaths attract more birds than bird feeders do. I believe that may be true as I know plenty of people who have several feeders but no birdbaths in their yard and they are wondering where their bird visitors are.
If you have a birdbath that is open for business but no feathery customers are visiting, you may find the reason below.
Problems with Placement
1. Birds simply don't see the birdbath.
Even if a birdbath is clean and filled with sparkling water, it's not doing the birds any good if they can't find it. The birdbath should be easily seen from the sky.
2. The birdbath is placed in full sun.
The water may be too warm to be refreshing. Moving the birdbath to a shadier spot may be all you need to do. Some shade will also keep the water fresh longer.
3. The birdbath was placed in an area that doesn't appear safe.
Skittish birds feel safer if they can see in all directions while they drink or bathe. They also want to see a quick route to flee from danger or even perceived danger. A birdbath that is too far from cover may discourage your birds from landing there.
Place the birdbath in an area where there are some trees or big shrubs nearby but not close enough that predators can hide near it.
Birdbaths placed on the ground can be hard for the birds to see and be more dangerous than ones placed on pedestals.
If you must have the birdbath placed on the ground, be sure to place it at least six feet away from places where predators could lurk.
The birdbath itself.
4. Slippery Surfaces.
Many birdbaths, like ceramic ones, have a rather slippery coating that may force the birds that are trying to land there to make a rather unnerving landing.
A simple solution to this is to arrange stones (or branches) in the water so birds can safely land on them then stand on them to drink without touching the slippery surface at all.
Problems with the water.
5. The water is too deep.
The fact is that birds can drown in deep water. Birds prefer very shallow water where they can safely sip or bathe.
As a rule, the deepest part of the bath in the center should be no deeper than about two inches.
6. The water in the birdbath is not clean.
It's pretty obvious that birds will not visit a birdbath that is full of decaying leaves or debris or has a growth of algae. Not only will birds generally ignore that birdbath altogether, but they could get very sick if they do visit.
7. Clean water is not continuously supplied.
Once your birds have become used to a water supply in your garden, you should ensure that you continue to offer it to them. If your birdbath is often empty, then birds will soon try to find another more continuous source of water.
Those Sneaky Neighbors!
8. The area birds have found a better option.
Maybe your neighbor has a more inviting location for drinking and bathing!
If this is the case you can one-up your neighbor's offering by adding a source of moving water to your birdbath. Not only does moving water attract birds, but it will also prevent mosquitos from breeding there. And a side benefit is that birdbaths with moving water won't need to be cleaned as often.
Above is a pretty inexpensive solar fountain pump that can do the work for you.
If you're more a DIY-er, here is a great idea I wish I had thought of myself.
Recycle an old bucket or plastic container by punching a tiny hole in the bottom, filling it with water, and hanging it above the birdbath so the water drips slowly down.
Another way to outdo the neighbor is by making sure that your birds have water to drink, even in the coldest weather.
The heated birdbath pictured above is the one that I use. I like that it sits securely on my deck rail so I can watch the birds from the warm comfort of my window!
Or you can purchase an inexpensive deicer like the one above. With either choice, you can expect some activity all winter year long!
I hope you found these tips helpful. Here are some related articles about the care of your feathery friends: