when do birds take baths

If you’ve taken the time and expense of installing a bird bath in your garden, but are getting frustrated because there are no birds using it, don’t despair. Birds are by nature cautious creatures, and with good reason. Think of the predators they have to potentially face every day, barking dogs, cats, and that’s not to mention birds of prey and foxes etc.

Patience is needed when you add anything to the garden for birds, we installed another hanging feeder alongside our existing feeders and it took three weeks before we spotted our first bird using it.

On average, it takes birds between 2 – 4 weeks to find a bird bath. If the bird bath has been in your garden for longer than a month, there could be another reason the birds aren’t using it.

Rub-a-Dub-Dub, Many Birds in the Tub

Although we are unaware of the purpose and significance of baths for birds, we are all aware that birds, like humans, enjoy having access to water for drinking and bathing.

I first realized how important bathing is to birds when I worked with migrant birds in the Yucatan Peninsula. We were studying warblers that were typically territorial. At our mangrove study sites, these birds regularly assumed threat postures and even got into fights to maintain the boundaries between their exclusive home ranges.

But there was a nightly truce at a public bird bath.

when do birds take baths

Every evening at dusk, a large number of American redstarts, northern parulas, magnolia warblers, common yellowthroats, and yellow warblers took turns bathing in a unique location in the mangroves where a freshwater spring bubbled up from the ground.

They shared this small haven one by one before retiring for the evening.

The peaceful way territorial warblers alternately bathe indicates that, for a bird, having access to water for bathing is worth putting one’s aggressive tendencies on hold—at least for a short while.

when do birds take baths

Possible Reasons Birds Aren’t Using A Bird Bath

The birds may not be using your newly installed bird bath for a variety of reasons. Before we go deeper into the reasons the birds are ignoring your bird bath, let’s take a closer look at some of the more obvious ones.

Water Level Too Deep

The main cause of birds not using bird baths is that the water is too deep. Birds tend not to take many chances because they need to feel safe at all times because their lives are frequently in danger. Your bowl’s water level should not be lower than two to three inches, and its sides should slope to make getting in and out as simple as possible.

If your bowl is too deep, consider filling it with some big stones, logs, etc. to allow them a perching place to drink from.

Birds won’t enter the water even with the proper water level if the container’s sides are too deep and they can’t see their surroundings clearly. For the birds to have a clear view of the surroundings, the sides must be just a little bit deeper than the water’s surface.

The location of the bird bath should be clear, free of nearby obstructions where cats or other predators could wait to ambush the birds while they are taking a bath. As long as the branches aren’t sturdy enough to hold up a cunning cat, a few slightly overhanging branches are usually OK.

when do birds take baths


How often do birds take a bath?

The frequency of bathing by land birds typically is related to the weather. On a hot summer day titmice or chickadees may take five baths; in midwinter they still may bathe several times a week, often in snowmelt found in protected areas. Waterbirds and seabirds also bathe with stereotyped routines.

Do birds use bird baths year round?

Birds will come to birdbaths year-round, and fortunately keeping yours ice free in winter is not as critical as many people believe. Birds have several physiological mechanisms for conserving water, and can usually get plenty from snow or dripping icicles.

Do birds use bird baths at night?

But at a communal bird bath, there was a nightly truce. Each evening at dusk, in a special spot in the mangroves where a freshwater spring bubbled up from the ground, numerous American redstarts, northern parulas, magnolia warblers, common yellowthroats and yellow warblers took turns bathing.

Why don t birds use my birdbath?

Visibility: Birds won’t use a bath they can’t see, and birders won’t enjoy the bath if they can’t see birds using it. Choose a location that offers decent views for watching birds and is easily visible to birds in other parts of the yard so they will notice its availability.