Myths about bird baths lead to improper, unhealthy and unsafe bird baths that can be more dangerous than helpful to backyard birds. By understanding the facts about bird baths, it is possible to provide water to birds safely and easily, thereby attracting even more birds to enjoy.
Only a few birds use bird baths, so it's not worth having one.
On the contrary, all birds need a clean water source not just for drinking, but also for bathing and preening. Many birds that are not interested in seed, suet or nectar may still visit backyards where a good bird bath or other backyard water source is available.
See Also: Providing Water to Hummingbirds
Good quality bird baths are too expensive.
Bird baths come in all shapes, size and price ranges. More elaborate, decorative models can be expensive, but birds don't mind what color, shape or style the bath is so long as it is a good depth and filled with clean, fresh water. Even homemade bird baths or simple dishes can be good choices.
See Also: Types of Bird Baths
Bird bath fountains are too awkward because they require electricity.
While many fountain-style bird baths do require a nearby electrical outlet to keep the water circulating, there are also battery-operated baths or bath accessories that can keep the water moving without a cord. Solar bird bath fountains are another easy option for moving water without cords.
See Also: Solar Bird Baths
Heated bird baths are unsafe because wet birds freeze in the winter.
A heated bird bath keeps the water liquid for birds to drink, but a healthy bird will not bathe when the air temperature is cold enough to freeze. Furthermore, birds are well insulated to survive in cold weather even if their feathers are damp.
See Also: Heated Bird Bath Tips
Deeper baths are best for birds because they provide more water.
The optimum depth of a bird bath is 1-3 inches deep. Water that is any deeper will be too awkward for even the largest backyard birds to bathe, and very small birds wouldn't be able to use the bath except at the very edge. Adding a shallow dish in the center of the bath or using rocks to adjust the depth can make a deeper bath more accessible to all backyard birds.
See Also: Choosing a Bird Bath
Dirty baths are okay since birds drink from dirty puddles anyway.
A dirty bird bath is hazardous to any birds that drink from it because stagnant, contaminated water can harbor unhealthy concentrations of bacteria that causes avian diseases. Mosquitoes that may carry other diseases dangerous to both humans and birds can also breed in a dirty bird bath.
See Also: How to Clean a Bird Bath
Cleaning a bird bath is too much trouble because it requires scrubbing.
There are safe chemicals that can be added to a bird bath to keep it cleaner and to make regular cleaning easier, and it is possible to clean bird baths without any scrubbing at all if they are well maintained and cleaned frequently. Taking good care of a bird bath means less frequent cleaning and less necessary scrubbing.
A bird bath is the only way to offer water to backyard birds.
While a bird bath is a quick, easy way to add a water feature to attract backyard birds, there are other water sources that can be effective as well, including misters, drippers, fountains and ponds. Standing water is adequate for the birds, while moving water is better and flowing water is best. Birds will hear the noise of the water and come to investigate, meaning even more backyard birds to enjoy.
See Also: Attract Birds With Water