do birds need to drink water

Bird baths are a common feature in many yards, but do birds really need them? There are many natural sources of water, but why is water so important to birds, and what role do bird baths play?

According to the USGS Water Science School, the Earths surface is 71 percent water, and 96 percent of that water is in the oceans. While some seabirds, such as petrels and albatrosses, have a special gland in their bodies that enables them to drink seawater, most birds need freshwater to survive. Unfortunately, of the remaining four percent of the Earths water that is fresh, a great deal of it is trapped in the ice caps, glaciers or underwater sources that are inaccessible to birds.

Other water sources may also be unreachable to birds, such as powerful waterfalls that songbirds cannot use or deep pools or swift rivers without accessible ledges where birds can perch. Because all wildlife needs water, predators often stalk water sources, and pollution and erosion can also make water sources less suitable for birds. Carefully chosen and thoughtfully maintained, however, bird baths or other backyard water can be perfect for birds.

Despite its relative scarcity, birds need water just as much as humans do. Drinking water helps regulate body processes, improve metabolism and keep birds healthy. Birds use water for preening and bathing, and on hot days, standing in cool water or taking a quick splash can help birds keep cool. While wild birds can – and do – take advantage of many natural water sources, from puddles and streams to lakes, rivers, ponds and reservoirs, backyard water sources are equally valuable. In fact, a backyard water source is often even safer, since there are fewer natural predators and the water can be kept cleaner and fresher, helping birds stay cool, preened and healthy.

No matter what type of water is offered in the backyard, birders need to take care of it to be sure it is helpful instead of harmful to birds.

Any water feature can be an amazing addition to a yard, and whether it is a simple basin, a stately fountain or an elaborate waterfall and pond, the birds will love it. Once backyard birders see just how many birds are attracted to water, theyll be thirsty to add even more water sources to the yard.

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Birds may not be able to access other water sources, such as strong waterfalls that are inaccessible to songbirds, swift rivers or deep pools without perching ledges. Predators frequently stalk water sources because all wildlife needs it, and pollution and erosion can also make water sources less bird-friendly. Bird baths or other backyard water features, however, can be ideal for birds provided they are properly selected and maintained.

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A simple basin, a stately fountain, or an intricate waterfall and pond—any kind of water feature can be a wonderful addition to a yard, and the birds will love it. Backyard birders will be compelled to add more water sources to their yard after realizing how many birds are drawn to water.

Many yards have bird baths, but are they really necessary for birds? There are plenty of natural water sources, so why is water so vital to birds, and what function do bird baths serve?

Whatever kind of water is available in the backyard, birdwatchers must take care of it to ensure that it benefits birds rather than endangers them.

The Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) are a group of people who live, rent, or visit Seabrook Island, South Carolina. They are passionate about learning about, preserving, and ensuring the welfare of the remarkable array of birds that call Seabrook Island home all year round. View all posts by sibirders.

Just like you and me, birds need water to survive. The majority of birds do not drink water in the same way that mammals do. Their anatomy is obviously quite different from ours. Among other things, birds lack cheeks and lips. Except in a few cases, they are unable to draw liquid into their throats the way horses can. The majority of birds use their bill to hold water, which they usually get from morning dew on leaves. They then tilt their head back and use gravity to push the liquid into their digestive tract.


Will birds drink water from a bowl?

Fortunately, there are other safe ways we can provide water for birds. Setting an unbreakable shallow bowl of water out, and bringing it in after ice forms, is one way. By setting your bowl out at the same time each day, you can help birds discover it quickly.

How long can birds go without water?

As with all of these answers, there are a variety of factors involved. However, for smaller birds like finches and warblers, major dehydration can occur in as little as 2-3 hours as temperatures peak. Larger birds like pigeons can survive for 48+ hours at mild temperatures when deprived of water.

Should I leave water out for birds?

It is difficult for birds to find water in the wild, especially in the summer months. If you want to attract birds to your yard, you are in fact better off providing them with water rather than food. If you live by a natural creek, lake or pond, then chances are your birds are thrilled to stop by your yard.

Which birds don t drink water?

Hummingbirds don’t drink water, but their primary calorie intake is sugar in liquid form: nectar.