Water is one of the most important things birders can add to their backyard to attract birds. All bird species need water, and adding one or more water features to your yard will quickly attract feathered friends. Birds need water for two reasons: drinking and preening. Water helps keep a bird’s body cool both from the inside and outside. Water baths can also remove dust, loose feathers, parasites and other debris from a bird’s plumage. Offering water in your backyard will attract more birds than just food sources, since birds that would not normally visit feeders can be tempted by water features. Any water is an improvement on a dry backyard, but moving water will attract more birds because the motion catches their eye and they can hear any dripping, sprinkles or splashes. Adding a Water Wiggler dripper, or mister accessory to a standing birdbath adds motion easily. Birdbaths are the fastest, easiest way to add water to your backyard bird habitat. The Rock Pile offers different sizes and styles. Birdbaths come in three basic designs:
- Pedestal: These classic bird baths stand three to four feet above the ground and include a post-style base on an elevated dish. Pedestal bird baths may be plastic, metal, ceramic or concrete and come in varying decorative designs and colors.
- Dish: A simple saucer or shallow bowl can be used for a dish bird bath. Dishes can be used at different heights by being placed on the ground, a fence, patio table, stump or steps. Hanging dishes and models that attach to deck railings are also available.
- Heated: A heated birdbath is essential in colder climates. It takes a great deal of energy to melt snow to drink, and birds willingly visit available water sources all year round. Heater accessories can be added to existing bird baths. Fully heated models are available as well.
For birds to feel comfortable using a bird bath, it should not be more than two or three inches deep. Adding an overturned saucer or level rocks to the center of the bath can add a shallower section or island for birds to use.
Misters are a favorite way for hummingbirds to find water and they will often hover in a mister repeatedly on a hot day. Misters also provide moving water to attract other birds, and if they are properly positioned they will drip into a bird bath for even more motion. Misters may be attached to birdbaths or they can come as separate water features. For the best effect, position the mister in a partially shaded area that has several perches available.
Cleaning Water Features for Birds
Water features will attract the most birds when the water is clean and fresh. Standing water features such as bird baths and dishes should be cleaned often, while moving and flowing water will naturally stay fresher and can be cleaned less frequently.
Attracting birds with water is easy, and there are many simple ways to add fresh water to your backyard to entice birds for a drink or a bath.