Bird lovers enjoy watching their feathered friends flit about the garden- landing on a birdbath to take a drink or splash a bit. A clean, sparkling birdbath is a welcome site for garden visitors; goldfinch and human alike. Below are hints and tip on how to easily clean and maintain your birdbath.
Cleaning a Birdbath:
- Protective gloves (to avoid contamination from fecal matter)
- Scrub Brush
- Mild dishwashing detergent or a chlorine bleach and water solution (see below)
- Put on protective gloves.
- Remove all dirty water, leaves and debris.
- To clean, use a mild detergent or a mixed solution of one part household bleach to nine parts water.
- Scrub the basin, lip, and any area where birds perch or bathe.
- Thoroughly rinse the birdbath bowl with a pressure hose as wild birds are highly sensitive to household detergents.
- Let the birdbath dry thoroughly and then refill the basin with fresh, clean water.
Additional ideas and tips:
- Change the water daily using a pressure hose to spray out the standing water. Refill the bowl with fresh water. (Dirty water that stands for too long can leave a permanent stain.)
- When the outdoor temperature rises be sure to keep an eye on the water level. The higher the temperature, the quickly the water will evaporate leaving your feathered friends without an adequate water source.
- Keep the birdbath full. Small amounts of standing water can concentrate contaminants.
- Choose a shady spot for your birdbath to minimize water evaporation and to curb algae growth.
- Place your birdbath away from feeders to keep spilled seed out of the water.
Birdbath water cleaners are commercially available to help keep the water clean, healthy and drinkable. Available cleaners usually come in a small dispenser that is placed in the center of the bowl.
Birdbath water cleaners approved for wildlife consumption are made of natural enzymes and bacteria. This will also help prevent mineral deposits, algae growth and organic build-up, keeping the water clearer, longer.
Highlight your garden with an elegant birdbath. Birdbaths provide essential water to birds for drinking, bathing and grooming. They also add upscale style to your flower garden or backyard. Birdbaths are made from a wide range of materials including: cast stone, concrete, plastic, powder-coated metal, ceramic and copper.
Birdbaths are available in a wide range of styles including:
- Art Deco
Bird Bath Fountains
Wild birds, hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the enticing sight and sound of moving water. Flowing water keeps the birdbath cleaner too. Add relaxing sounds to your garden with a fountain, mister or wiggler.
Bird Bath Fountains are available in electric powered and solar. A solar fountain does require direct sunlight, but usually runs quieter than electric. If your climate experiences a lot of cloudy days, fountains are available that are dual- both solar and electric. When there’s not enough sun, just plug it in.
Solar fountains consist of a solar panel placed outside the basin in the sun. Some versions can be placed inside the basin. The sun’s energy powers the pump, keeping the water circulating.
You can make your own DIY birdbath fountain using an inexpensive solar panel and pump kit available at gardening centers. The fountain can be placed inside a large planter, bowl or basin.
Bird Bath Heaters
Critical for winter months, a birdbath heater is inexpensive to operate and will keep ice melted, supplying fresh water for wild birds and garden visitors. Before choosing a heater measure the bottom width of your basin or container to make sure the heater will fit. A 50 watt heater is usually sufficient to melt ice, but in northern climates you may require additional wattage. Add water to the basin every other day because heated water will evaporate quickly.
Extras to look for:
- A birdbath heater with a thermostat control saves electricity. It turns on only when the temperature falls below freezing.
- A heater rated to operate below -20 degrees F will work in most northern climates.
- Corrosion resistance- a durable, powder coated finish will resist rust and corrosion.
Want to learn more about attracting birds to your backyard? Check out our blog post here.