can you give birds water

Providing backyard bird feeders, though unnecessary, is an extremely popular activity in the United States; in fact, over 40% of Americans have backyard feeders. It is so popular that it has become big business and is promoted as beneficial to both humans and birds in that it allows people to enjoy bird watching from the comfort of their own home and provides birds with a steady food source. However, feeding at a communal backyard feeder can have hidden risks for birds.

This birdbath has three different mounting options. It can be attached to a post and placed up off the ground. It can be clamped to a deck railing, which is great if you have limited space or live in an urban area and don’t have a yard. It also has short legs to place it right on the ground. Like our other birdbaths, this one also has a thermostatically controlled heater to offer clean, fresh water year-round.

The plastic basin on our pedestal birdbath is colored like terracotta and is lightweight, easy to empty, and maintain. It includes an attractive metal pedestal that fits into the ground firmly. Additionally, it has a 60-watt heater that is concealed beneath the surface and is tested to -20°F. It is thermostatically controlled to only run when necessary. The power cord can be tucked beneath the bowl during warm weather.

Here are four different water features that we offer via National Wildlife Catalog. I’ve personally reviewed each of these water features to make sure the design is high quality. Even better, the proceeds from the sale of these water features go directly to support the National Wildlife Federation’s conservation programs.

Providing water for drinking and bathing is a great way to attract beautiful and interesting birds to your yard. A clean water source is one of the components of habitat that all wildlife need to survive and one of the requirements for those seeking Certified Wildlife Habitat status for their yards and gardens through our Garden for Wildlife program.

2780_nwf2836zmNot all birds will visit a birdbath. Hummingbirds in particular enjoy flying through a mist of water. Watch and enjoy your backyard as it becomes a community of hummingbirds and other birds as they fly through and bathe in this mister. The small white mister nozzle will easily attach to any garden hose and spray out a fine mist of water for your feathered friends to enjoy.

Bird Feeders as a Vector for Disease

Bird feeders often draw a large number of different species and individual birds into a small area. While it’s not completely out of the ordinary for birds to congregate in large groups, there is one very important distinction between a flock of birds foraging together in the wild and a flock that regularly visits feeders. When birds engage in natural foraging, their dietary needs in a given area will decrease over time as their food sources become more scarce and they relocate. An artificial food source allows for continuous restocking of the food supply, which prolongs the duration of high bird concentrations. When flocks of birds visit a feeder and one or two of them are sick, the feeder can become contaminated and dozens of other visitors may become infected.

House Finch with conjunctivitis

Bird feeders can transmit a number of illnesses, including Salmonellosis, Trichomoniasis, Avian Pox, Conjunctivitis, and Aspergillosis, through feces and contaminated food. The most common is Salmonellosis, caused by Salmonella bacteria. In birds, Salmonella can cause abscesses in the lining of the esophagus and crop. It can also spread throughout the body. In the mouth and throat, trichomoniasis leads to the development of sores and thick plaques. The virus that causes warty growths on the face, wings, legs, or feet is known as avian pox. A bacterium known as conjunctivitis, also known as house finch eye disease, can cause the bird’s eyes to swell shut and eventually go blind. The Aspergillus fungus frequently thrives in the detritus under feeders and on moist food. As a result, birds experience severe respiratory problems, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

Feeders not only carry the risk of spreading disease but can also be a convenient way for local cats to kill birds and draw rodents like mice and rats. But there’s another way to draw birds to your yard without having to deal with the possible hazards associated with feeders. As an alternative to providing artificial food sources, PAWS promotes landscaping for wildlife.

You can transform your entire property into a better backyard habitat by designing your yard with wildlife in mind. In response to the loss of habitat, many people keep up bird feeders; however, a feeding station cannot truly replace habitat. Making changes to your property to accommodate birds and other wildlife will help them regain some of the things they have lost. Additionally, you’ll draw in a wider range of species and stop the spread of illness. Birds may benefit from feeders as a source of food during hard times, but only a suitable habitat will guarantee these creatures’ long-term survival.

Bushtit on a branch

An Anna’s Hummingbird fledgling

In the event that you decide to continue feeding food into feeders, there are a few precautions you can take to reduce the likelihood that your feeders will act as disease vectors:

  • Keep your feeders clean. Weekly cleaning is preferable to at least once or twice a month disinfecting feeders.
  • Throw away all uneaten food, give the feeder a thorough cleaning, and then disinfect it using a 2010 bleach solution. Before using the feeder once more, give it a thorough rinse and let it air dry.
  • To ensure that fresh food is provided more frequently, use feeders with limited capacity.
  • Instead of using wood feeders, use ones made of plastic or metal that can be cleaned more thoroughly.
  • When handling your feeders, always wear gloves to reduce your personal risk of contracting any potential diseases.
  • Clean up all spilled seed and feces around the feeder.
  • Every time you clean a feeder, move it to a different spot to lessen the possibility that contamination will accumulate on the ground beneath it.
  • Only offer fresh, high-quality food.
  • Throw away any food that gets soggy or moldy, and clean the feeder or container it was in.
  • Keep your cat indoors.
  • Don’t place feeders close to windows.

Finding sources of pure, readily available freshwater can be challenging for birds, particularly in the dry summer months. Bird baths are a great way to give birds access to water, but if they’re not kept up properly, they could also be dangerous to the birds’ health. A lot of the diseases that can be spread by unclean feeders can also be spread by unclean water sources. To make sure the water you give the birds in your neighborhood is safe and free of diseases, take these easy steps:

  • Every day, clean out any debris in your bird bath and replace the water.
  • At least once or twice a month, completely empty and disinfect the bathtub.
  • Before you fill the bath again, make sure that all of the disinfectant has been rinsed out.
  • Should you observe sick-looking birds on your land, utilize our self-service portal online or give us a call at 425-412-4040 to receive guidance.


Can I put water in a bowl for birds?

Therefore, If you want to feed your birds some water, put out a large shallow bowl plate with an edge that they can perch. While some bird owners encourage their birds to drink from bowls, other bird owners prefer using a water bottle because it reduces the risk of contamination.

Can I give my bird bottled water?

If it is safe for humans, then it is safe for your birds. If you have concerns, then use filtered or spring water, not distilled water.

What kind of water is good for birds?

However, remember that wild birds are more used to natural water sources such as rain and spring water. Tap water can contain chlorine and fluoride that may cause nutrient imbalances. It is important that when using tap water for wild birds to make sure that the bird food you use contains added vitamins and minerals.