do birds like water fountains

Backyard birdwatchers share several things in common, one of them being their intense love of birds. The other is the work they invest in attracting birds to their backyards. Most birdwatchers know that having the right foods in their feeders is key to attracting birds to their backyards. However, after the right foods, a bird bath and water feature is the best way to keep birds coming to your backyard.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Although the options for bird baths and water features seem limitless, being aware of the advantages and disadvantages will help you narrow down your selection. You can relax knowing that you have selected the ideal water source for your backyard, regardless of whether you go for a straightforward bird bath with a mister or decide to get your hands dirty and build a pond.

3. Pick the correct location

Similar to humans, birds search for water sources by emphasizing location, location, location on their wish list.

To help birds stay cool during the sweltering summers, the best birdbaths are shaded. Furthermore, in the absence of shade, water becomes overheated and evaporates, which can significantly reduce the allure of a bird bath for nearby flocks. Whether artificial or natural, a small amount of shade can draw more birds.

Place your birdbath in an area that is convenient for cleaning.

Proximity to power is great, too. If you want to add a fountain, you can add a pump to circulate water because it can be connected to your home’s electrical system. Just ensure that the outlet you use has a ground fault interruptor, or GFI, installed. This will erase the risk of electrical shock.

A couple of quick tips:

Look for safe, solar-powered alternatives if your backyard lacks electricity or is in the wrong place! Solar bird baths are simple to erect and maintain.

If you enjoy observing birds, you should locate your bird bath in an area that is easily seen from you. For instance, a lot of people place birdbaths near their kitchen windows.

Narrowing Down Your Choices

The process of selecting a bird bath and water feature can be quite overwhelming, whether you shop online or visit garden centers and home improvement stores. Options for bird baths range from material composition to style.

Simple sprays to a backyard pond with landscaping designed to draw and feed visiting birds are examples of water features. To save time and money, it’s critical to understand the advantages and disadvantages of both. Planning ahead can help you reduce your options and choose a water feature that will work well for your yard.

Hummingbird enjoying a shallow bird bath / Shutterstock

There are a few considerations to make when choosing a bird bath. First and foremost is size.

Although larger bird baths attract more birds to your backyard, smaller ones are simpler to set up and keep up. Many birds can use a large bird bath without causing problems with territory. Small bird baths may run out of water more quickly. You may find yourself having to refill it more frequently on a steamy summer day.

Smaller bird species feel somewhat more secure in taller bird baths as they watch for potential predators. This is crucial if smaller birds are frequently drawn to your feeders. If you want to draw in doves, blue jays, robins, and woodpeckers, you might want to consider installing a taller bath because larger birds are typically ground feeders. These species and other large birds are more likely to be drawn to ground level water basins.

When it comes to design, hanging, mounting, and pedestal bird baths are some options. Considering safety is useful when selecting the design. A suspended bird bath is not a suitable option if it cannot be hung from a secure location. A mounted bird bath is convenient, but it may expose birds to predators. It typically consists of a basin that fastens to a porch railing, attractive yard item, or wall enclosing a patio. More birds will be able to access a pedestal bird bath, but stability and safety require level ground.

The climate in your area should be taken into account when selecting a bird bath. Although resin bird baths are less expensive, they are more likely to crack in colder weather, which is a drawback for backyard bird watchers in northern climates. Furthermore, resin bird baths do not support more weight as well as bird baths composed of alternative materials. In a warmer climate, you might want to think about building a concrete bird bath. They can support more weight, resist breaking as easily, and stay cool in the heat.

Indigo Buntings enjoying a birdbath / Shutterstock

Even though some birds might not visit feeders, they might be drawn to your water feature. One of the best ways to get more birds into your yard is to provide them with a water source.

There’s more to getting them to notice your water feature than just filling the basin and turning on the hose. The best way to draw in those difficult-to-get birds is to add a moving water feature to your bird bath. Due to their keen sense of hearing, birds can detect the sounds of water trickling or flowing from a distance. They will see water moving from above as they soar over. One advantage of including a water feature in your backyard is this.

The bird bath fountain includes the phrase “bird bath,” but it’s more than just a pedestal-mounted bowl of water. Most fountains include a pump to circulate water. A method of circulating water in a spray, flow, or soft falling motion may involve multiple “tiers.” Usually, a configuration of rocks, pots, or jars serves as a reservoir to capture the water flow. It may be freestanding or mounted to a wall. The steady, controlled water flow and visual appeal of a bird bath fountain are two advantages. Because the water in a bird bath fountain is never stagnant, it also stays cleaner. But the water in a bird bath fountain evaporates quickly, so you have to check the water levels frequently. Never allow the water in the basin to get too low because doing so will harm the pump. Because the pumps in bird bath fountains are sensitive and can freeze in cold weather, they work best in warmer climates.

Small backyard pond / Shutterstock

A backyard pond’s capacity to draw a wide variety of species is one of its advantages. You can add features to ponds that move water to draw in more birds. In addition to providing water for birds, you can also add water plants. However, there are certain drawbacks to providing birds with a pond as a water source. Ponds need more upkeep than a straightforward bird bath with a water feature. The location where you want to put the pond must be level ground. Pumps, filters, and liners may require replacement due to breaking. There’s a chance that chemicals from nearby yards, like pesticides or fertilizers, could harm birds if there’s runoff near the pond. Another downside is excessive algae buildup common to ponds. Make sure you have enough time to plan ahead and determine whether you can dedicate the necessary time to maintaining the pond before selecting one.

A more straightforward option for water features in your backyard are a mister and dripper. Misters, also called leaf misters, provide birds with a soft water source. When the mister is placed over a bird bath, it softly mists the foliage, enabling birds to brush against it for a soothing, cool bath. Misters are inexpensive, simple to erect, and attractive to almost all bird species. The only potential drawback of a mister could be that, unless you disconnect it, the garden hose you connected to it won’t function for other yard chores.

A dripper provides a steady drip, drip rhythm with the same uninterrupted water supply. Though easy to set up, dripper are sometimes more expensive. Drippers do have one major advantage, though: the majority have filter washers to keep debris out and a Y valve connector to let you use your garden hose in the bird bath while it runs.

Backyard artificial stream / Shutterstock

A stream is an organic water feature that flows naturally and is particularly appealing to birds. A stream not only provides water, but it also has the added advantage of providing insects with food. You can create an artificial stream just for birds instead of relying on an existing natural stream. Having a stream in your backyard allows you to customize it to the needs and safety of birds, which is one of its benefits. However, you should be aware that keeping an eye on water levels can take some time, particularly following periods of heavy rain. Daily debris removal as part of routine maintenance could also be a chore. Last but not least, there’s a chance that the sound of water nearby could lure predators like cats to your stream.


Can birds drink fountain water?

As long as there isn’t too much, it shouldn’t be a problem. Generally tap water has 1-2 ppm of chlorine and at that level it won’t be a problem. But if you’re planning on using bleach as a means of cleaning a fountain, you should rinse it out with tap water before you’re done.

How do I keep my fountain water clean and safe for birds?

All birdbaths and fountains should be cleaned on a regular basis to maintain water quality and the health of birds and others who may drink the water, and to keep mosquitoes from breeding. Typically a good stiff-bristled bush and water are all that should be required to adequately clean the bath or fountain itself.

Is it good to put water out for birds?

Birds need fresh, clean water for drinking and bathing. Most birds drink water every day. They also seem to enjoy bathing to clean their plumage and remove parasites. Providing water improves habitat for birds and other animals, and increases your chances of observing their fun behaviors up close!

Why won’t birds use my birdbath?

Some bird baths are deep, which isn’t really appealing to songbirds. Just an inch or two works best. If you happen to have a deeper bird bath, you can make it more appealing by adding in a few rocks in the middle or along the edges.