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Bird Bath: Everything You Need to Know When Choosing a Bath

Bird Bath

Do you want to add a bird bath to your garden to attract more feathery creatures and provide a refreshing haven during summer?

As demonstrated by the National Wildlife Federation’s requirements for habitat certification, providing fresh water is crucial for birds.

And if you want to magnetize them to your garden and enrich your birdwatching experience, we recommend having a bird bath.

But what kind of avian should you choose, and how can your feathery friends benefit from it?

In this comprehensive guide to bird baths, we’ll discuss everything you should know when choosing one.

In particular, you’ll discover:

  • The types, materials, and popular bird bath designs you can choose from
  • Tips on how to find the right bath that fits your garden and avian friends’ needs
  • Upkeeping secrets to ensure your avian bath stays safe, clean, and secure

But before that, let us first define a birdbath and the purpose it serves to many avian creatures.

What’s a Bird Bath?

A bird bath is either a basin or a tub-like garden ornament where birds can take a sip or bathe.

Basically, it’s like a bird’s swimming pool that provides entertainment and refreshes the birds.

It’s helpful, especially during summer when they’re exposed to extreme heat.

The ideal basin depth is 1 to 2 inches, but other baths have both shallow and deep areas to cater to different bird sizes.

Types of Bird Bath

There are numerous types of bird baths you can choose from. Let’s discuss each of them in this section to see which is best for your backyard.

Pedestal or Freestanding Avian Bath

1. Pedestal or Freestanding Avian Bath

This is the most common type of bird bath, and usually, they’re how birdkeepers envision an avian bath to be.

Pedestal bird bath, as the name suggests, comprises a bowl or basin placed on top of a pedestal.

You can use them in lawns, gardens, decking, and patio areas.

Since they’re popular, it’s easy to find pedestal or freestanding avian baths, and they’re available in a wide range of colors, shapes, styles, and designs.

But they’re also the heaviest, especially those made from concrete, cast iron, and other solid materials.

2. Hanging Bird Bath

This type is usually shallow and suspended in the air from a tree branch or gutter by metallic chains.

Since they’re shallow, they can’t hold large amounts of water, thus requiring you to refill them more often.

They’re less expensive than other bird baths yet fancy, making them a good option if you want an elegant bath without breaking the bank.

3. Wall Hanging Bird Bath

Unlike the usual hanging bird bath designs that are hung from a tree trunk or branch, this type sits are mounted or installed into a wall.

You can place it outside your house on a fence or on the sides of a barn.

Since the roof usually protects it, the water will be free from debris and dirt.

Ground Avian Bath

4. Ground Bird Bath

The simplest bird bath type is the ground feeder, which as the same hints, rests on the ground.

This is not attractive for certain types of birds and puts your avian friends at a higher risk of being attacked by predators like squirrels and cats.

But they’re ideal for birds like ducks and quails because they spend most of their time on the ground.

5. Mounted Avian Bath

If you don’t have enough space and budget for a freestanding bath but you have a balcony or deck where you can mount the basin or bowl, this is for you!

However, you need to ensure that it’s sturdy enough so the bowl or basin will not rock or get knocked off.

It’s less popular, though. That’s why this kind of birdbath is extra challenging to find.

But you can get it custom-made and paint it with your desired color.

6. Staked Bird Bath

Another cheaper alternative for freestanding avian baths is the staked bird baths.

It usually comprises a large bowl resting on top of a thin stake.

Bird drinking water

What Are The Effects of a Bird Bath?

A bird bath is a good investment for avid birdwatchers, but why are bird baths important?

Is it good to give your bird a bath?

Definitely, yes. But how can birds and you benefit from setting up an avian bath in your patio or garden?

We’ll dig into that more in this section.

Benefits of Placing a Bird Bath in Your Garden

It Can Entertain You

Setting up a bird bath along with a bird feeder allows you to watch your avian friends for a longer time.

You’ll also be able to see how they behave in water and hear them happily chirping or singing as they flap their wings and bathe themselves.

That’s such a unique and fun experience any bird-lover will enjoy.

It Allows Kids to Learn From Them

Watching your birds is not just an entertaining bonding experience for you and your family.

Your kids can also have more chances to observe and study these feathery creatures and their behavior with you.

You can also grab this opportunity to teach them about different bird species that visit your bird bath.

They Can Protect Your Garden

In case you didn’t know, bird baths also attract bees and wasps.

And these insects, along with other birds, prey on other insects that feed on your garden or fruit trees.

So, they aid in pest control, thus, minimizing the need for pesticide use.

It Aerates Your Soil

When a bird forages for ants and worms in the soil, they help aerate the soil with their beaks and feet.

Little do they know that their habits have a huge impact on plant health.

But you can take advantage of that to keep your garden plants healthy.

Now where should you set up your avian friend’s bath?

Where to Place Your Bird Bath

Where to Place Bird Baths

If you’re using a stake bird bath, it’s best to place it in a location with a harder ground.

It may be challenging to install your bird bath on it, but it’s more secure because if the soil is too loose or soft, the bath may rock unevenly and tip over.

If you want the bird bath to stay clean, place it 30 feet away from the window and feeders.

Ideally, the bird bath should be in an open area but within 10 feet of a tree so that your birds can have an escape route in case of predator attacks.

The ideal trees for birds are:

  • American Elderberry
  • Oak
  • Flowering Dogwood
  • Colorado
  • Blue Spruce
  • Virginia Creeper

If you place your bird’s bath near shrubs or trees, the water won’t get too hot, and the evaporation rate is less.

Thus, the bath will not dry out so quickly.

Additionally, cooler water means slower algae growth and less insects laying in the water.

But if you have a solar-powered bird bath, you need to consider if the spot has enough sunlight because that’s crucial to keep it working.

And finally, make sure to place it in a spot where it can be easily seen.

This way, you can enjoy watching birds having a blast in the water.

Concrete Bird Bath

How to Choose a Bird Bath

There are many factors to consider when choosing a bird bath.

So to help you find the right bath that fits your avian friends’ needs, we’ll discuss each one of them.

Things to Consider When Choosing an Avian Bath:

1. Size

One of the most crucial factors when considering what kind of bird bath to choose is the size.

Smaller bird baths are easier to move and more convenient, but they dry out more quickly.

On the other hand, larger ones can accommodate more birds, thus minimizing territorial conflicts, but moving and upkeeping could be difficult.

2. Height

Smaller birds like finches and cardinals prefer using tall bird baths because it gives them a better field of view.

As for larger birds like doves, quails, and ducks, they are more comfortable with ground-level basins.

As with the basin’s height or depth, the rule of thumb is not to exceed 2 inches.

If you’ve already purchased a bird bath that is deeper than 2 inches, add some large stones at the center so birds will have something to stand on and will not drown.

Tiered Avian Bath

3. Landscape Proportions

Another factor worth considering is the landscape proportion.

A birdbath should not only be visually appealing but also proportional to your garden or yard’s size.

A large, intricate birdbath may seem too much for a tiny yard, while small, minimalistic baths will not stand out in a lush, extravagant garden.

4. Bird’s Comfort

You should also keep birds’ comfort in mind when choosing their bird bath.

For example, if you want to attract small birds, the bath should have a narrow lip and textured so they can have a good grip and feel comfortable while perching on it.

Mosaic Avian Bath

5. Aesthetics and Design

It’s essential to pick a bird bath that fits with your garden decor and style preferences.

Nothing beats an economical bird bath that also adds zest to your garden.

But aside from aesthetics, you need to consider the design you’re choosing.

For example, if you don’t have a secure place for hanging bird baths, you may have to opt out of such a design.

You should also consider the style that suits your garden.


Traditional birdbaths composed of a bowl and a thick pedestal are usually durable and complement almost any yard.


Ornamental or decorative bird baths aren’t just functional but also visually attractive.

Since they’re available in a wide range of colors and designs, they offer you more choices and allow you to match the bath with your outdoor space and personality.


Modern homes deserve a modern bird bath, so if you prefer simple yet sleek-looking designs, this is the one for you.


If you’re into elaborate mosaic patterns, this is the go-to bird bath for you.

It’s not just an interesting piece, but it also glimmers, thus attracting more birds to the water.

6. Water Movement

Moving water that mimics nature is more attractive for birds.

So try adding a dripper, mister, bubble, or water spray, or you can opt for a birdbath fountain.

It’s not just entertaining and attractive for birds, but it can also minimize algae growth.

Additionally, it helps deter insects, keeps the bird bath cleaner, and makes maintenance less strenuous.

7. Cleanliness

While bird baths with intricate designs and sculptures or mosaics are attractive, they’re challenging to clean.

So if you don’t have enough time to clean concrete birdbaths, then a simple plastic birdbath may be the practical choice for you.

Maintaining them is a breeze, and they’re durable.

But if they’re not your cup of tea, consider glazed basins or copper bird baths because they’re usually naturally cleaner, but they still need some cleaning occasionally.

8. Cost

The cost doesn’t matter to birds, but it does to you.

Whether you pick an extravagant or minimalistic bird bath, birds will happily drink on it if it’s safe and secure.

You can even make a DIY bird bath if you’re on a tight budget.

This way, you can unleash your creativity without breaking the bank.

9. Climate

If you want a bird bath that is useful and efficient all year round, you need to consider the climate in your area.

Those living in the northern regions with longer winters need a tough heated bird bath.

On the other hand, those in warmer areas may prefer a larger bird bath that will not evaporate in just a couple of hours to minimize the need to refill it.

10. Materials of Bird Bath

Baths can be made of various materials, but perhaps the most popular is cement.

But if a cement birdbath is not your cup of tea, don’t worry. There are many options for you.

Solar-powered Glass Bird Bath


The glass bird bath is gaining traction nowadays because it’s not just lighter than those made of concrete and cast iron but also comes in different styles and colors.

They’re also elegant-looking, and they can easily match any decor in your yard.


Another gorgeous material that can make bird baths captivating for birds and guests is a glazed ceramic bird bath.

However, you need to ensure it’s glazed correctly and there’s no leaking to ensure it’s safe for bird use.

Terracotta Bird Bath


If you want a rustic look in your backyard, this may be the one for you.

Terracotta blends with the natural appearance of any property and can become a good focal point of your garden.

Cast Stone

Cast stone bird bath is one of the most expensive options you can find, but it’s built to last a lifetime.

It’s 100% durable and is available in different styles and colors, thus giving you more opportunity to match it with your garden’s design.

However, they’re extremely heavy and will need a lot of helping hands during the installation.

Plastic Avian Bath


Plastic avian baths are typically cheaper.

While it does the job of providing water for birds, it could be slippery; thus, your avian friends will find it challenging to have a good grip on the bath.


Another durable option for an avian bath is resin, but it’s not as tough as a concrete bird bath or stone.

However, it can serve your avian friends for a long time, and it can feature many intricate designs and carvings.


You can also use a copper bird bath since it’s also durable and eye-pleasing.

You can have it either textured or smooth, and this versatile material can withstand extreme temperatures, making it a great choice.

However, copper can be toxic to your feathery friends if it oxidizes and interacts with acidic water.

But it rarely happens, and it’s safe for the most part.

Metal Avian Bath


One of the most durable and reliable avian bath materials is metal; if that’s your top priority, this is for you.

You don’t have to worry about it being damaged or tipped over; it can serve you for a long time.

Another advantage of using a metal bird bath is it heats up the water naturally during summer.

But that’s not enough during winter, and the development of rust can be an issue over time.


Although stone is not a popular material for bird baths, it’s naturally attractive and can make an intriguing focal point in your garden.

It easily blends in with your garden, making it an ideal choice for a subdued look.

However, it’s very expensive, especially if it’s made of a slab of stones like granite.

Fountain Bird Bath

10. Features Included

Another factor worth considering when choosing an avian bath is the features.

But what features are usually incorporated into bird baths?


Solar-powered bird baths either have additional water fountain features, heated bowls, or lights.

This is handy if you don’t want to run electricity to your garden.

However, placement is crucial because if you position it in a shaded area, your solar bird bath fountain will not be able to recharge.


Having a lighted birdbath is like killing two birds with one stone.

It allows the birds to have a sip or access the water even during early morning hours or dusk and also serves as a lamp in your garden.

So you don’t need to make two different purchases.

However, if it’s not solar-powered, you’ll need to run electricity to your garden to turn on the lights.


Most avian baths, except the hanging and mounted baths, come with a stand.

Therefore, you don’t have to spend more time looking for stands that will fit your bowl or basin.


If you live in an area with freezing temperatures for a long time, then this will be helpful for your avian friends.

It allows you to provide fresh water for them all year long because the water in this heated bird bath will not freeze.


As said earlier, water movements attract more birds.

But more than that, this helps ensure the water is clean and reduces the chance of algae buildup in your bird bath.

On top of that, it discourages mosquitoes from laying their egg in the running water.

The downside, however, is that water evaporates more quickly in a fountain bath.

So you need to refill the bowl to prevent the pump from getting damaged while trying to circulate small amounts of water.

It’s worth noting that fountain pipes can freeze during winter, so they’re not ideal for the colder months.


If you want to add a hint of color to your avian’s bath by adding some flowering plants, choose one with a planter around the base.

But this avian bath will look bland if the flowers are missing, so you must ensure you can allot time for planting.


Tiered baths are aesthetically pleasing because it has more than just one bowl or basin.

And if the water can flow from one tier to another, the birds will be more enticed.

Dirty Bath

How to Maintain a Bird Bath

Providing secure water access to your bird requires money and effort because upkeeping needs time and laborious work.

So to make it easier, make sure to choose an easy-to-clean avian bath with a smooth surface but not overly smooth.

Otherwise, no avian creature will revisit the oasis you got for them because it’s too slippery.

How often should you clean your bird bath?

Ideally, avian baths should be cleaned every 1 to 3 days.

But how should you clean the bird baths?

First, dump the remaining water and refill it with fresh water. This helps to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the water.

But, if your bowl or basin is textured, you must spray it every week with a pressurized hose of water and scrub it with a brush before refilling it.

Now if you’re worried about algae, here’s a hack you should try for your avian bath.

Submerge a little copper tubing in the water to slow down algae growth in the bird bath and place it in a shaded or partly shaded area.

Then, sterilize your bird bath at least twice a year.

But how?

Simply pour a diluted bleach solution into the bowl or basin every spring and autumn.

Make sure to cover it, though, with a plastic bag or tarp to prevent birds from drinking the chemical-treated water.

Leave it for about 10 minutes, then rinse it with hose water for about 2 minutes until the bleach is gone.

Then, finally, refill the bird bath with fresh water.

Heated Bird Bath

Frequently Asked Questions About Avian Bath

What can I use for a bird bath?

If you want to DIY your avian bath, you can use an upturned dustbin or shallow circular plant tray.

Just ensure it has sloping sides, a maximum depth of 10cm, and a width of 30 cm across.

And if your basin is too deep, just add stones and rocks so they can have something to stand on.

What keeps a birdbath clean?

Since birds are sensitive to chemicals, it’s best to use homemade solutions.

For instance, you can create one made of nine parts water and one part vinegar when cleaning a bird bath.

Then, scrub the bath to get rid of the algae and molds.

How do you keep a bird bath safe?

To keep your bird bath clean and safe, give it a good scrub every week and ensure the birds won’t drown in it by adding stepping stones or rocks.

What type of bird bath is best?

You should choose a bird bath with a textured surface to prevent slipping and provide steady footing for birds.

If the material you chose is plastic or metal and the surface is too smooth, rub it with sandpaper to roughen it up.

What kind of bird bath do birds prefer?

Birds typically prefer shallow baths where they can wade, splash water with their wings, drink, and bathe.

That’s why picking a dish or basin with a depth of less than 2 inches is ideal for them.

Why do birds bathe?

Birds take a bath to clean their wings and keep them in an immaculate condition.

It also helps them cool down during the hot season and keeps them hydrated throughout the day.

Where to buy bird baths?

You can find these in local pet stores or purchase them online.

However, it’s best to see them in person to assess the bath’s quality and weigh in if it really fits your birds’ needs and your style preferences.

Sparrows happily taking a bath

Final Tips When Choosing a Bird Bath 

Not all attractive bird baths are attractive for our feathery friends.

So, don’t just focus on designs and styles when choosing a bird bath.

Depending on the number of birds you want to accommodate, the larger the bath, the better.

You must also consider the material because these birds need a textured surface and comfortable perching space.

Moving water is more attractive for birds, so if possible, add sprinklers or, better yet, create a fountain bird bath if possible.

But with so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to pick the right bath for your feathery friends.

However, by carefully considering the bath’s size, height, bird’s comfort, climate in your area, design, landscape proportion, water movements, and features of each bath, you’ll be able to find the right one.

READ NEXT: The 10 Best Bird Feeder of 2023

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