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Tips for Buying a Birdbath

Tips for Buying a Birdbath

Interest in birdbaths and water features in the backyard landscape is growing. Many birders say that it is much more fun to watch birds bathe than it is to watch them sit on a feeder and stuff their beaks.

When shopping for a birdbath, look for three key features:

1. The bathing basin should be less than 3 inches (8 cm) deep—and you should fill it with only 2 inches (5 cm) of water. Most songbirds won’t bathe in water that’s any deeper than that; they prefer to hunker down in a depth that barely reaches the bottoms of their bellies.

2. Make sure the bottom of the bathing basin has a rough surface. Many birdbath bottoms are often too slick to provide secure footing for birds, especially when a coat of algae forms on submerged surfaces. If you can find only a smooth surface basin, rough it up with sandpaper or the claws of a hammer (for plastic basins only!) before filling it with water.

3. Make sure the basin fits securely on the pedestal and won’t be subject to tipping by thirsty dogs, raccoons, deer, or, in wilder reaches, bears. No one wants to pick up an overturned birdbath every morning, and few folks want to replace a broken basin every time in thirsty critter tries to scale the pedestal.

You can search for a one-piece birdbath, or you could use a waterproof adhesive to attach the basin to the pedestal. Also, weight the base or sink it in the ground to minimize tipping over.

Read more: Nature, Nature & Wildlife

Adapted from Natural Gardening for Birds by Julie Zickefoose and the Editors and Writers of Bird Watcher's Digest. Copyright (c) 2001 by Bird Watcher's Digest. Reprinted by permission of Rodale Press.
Adapted from Natural Gardening for Birds by Julie Zickefoose and the Editors and Writers of Bird Watcher's Digest.

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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7:30PM PDT on Sep 12, 2014

These are all great tips. I've been debating on getting a bird bath for my yard for quite some time now. After this I've definitely been persuaded to go forward with one. Now I just need to choose what style I want to go with.

5:55PM PST on Nov 11, 2012


5:51PM PST on Nov 11, 2012

good tips (:

2:28AM PST on Nov 7, 2012

Thanks for sharing!

10:56PM PDT on Oct 12, 2012

Thanks Annie, always wonderful ideas !!

9:33PM PDT on Oct 10, 2012


6:21AM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

good tips

7:09AM PDT on Jul 4, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

3:04AM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

Thanks for the info.

11:30AM PST on Dec 7, 2011

Thanks .

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Hmmm very helpful blog, especially for someone like me. Warmest thanks! Carolt Mach Carolt Mach
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