How to Choose a Birdbath

There are many types of birdbaths to choose from, and both birders and gardeners should carefully consider many factors about design, construction and convenience before they choose a birdbath. By making a careful choice, the birdbath you select is sure to attract a wide range of beautiful bird species to your backyard.

Considerations for Choosing a Birdbath

When deciding between different birdbaths, consider…

  • Size: Small birdbaths are easy and convenient, but a larger model can accommodate a greater number of birds without causing territorial conflicts. At the same time, a larger bath can be more challenging to move or clean, though the fact that it will hold a greater volume of water can also be a benefit.

  • Appearance: If you choose a birdbath design you don’t like, you will be less inclined to keep it clean and filled. Choose a bath that fits well with your garden décor, personality and style preferences to ensure that you can enjoy it even without birds.

  • Landscape Proportions: Choose a birdbath that not only visually matches your garden, but one that is a suitable proportional size as well. A very large, ornate fountain birdbath will seem pretentious and out of place in a tiny backyard, while a very small, simple design can be lost in a lush garden.

  • Bird Comfort: The best birdbaths are designed with the birds in mind. A narrow lip is a more comfortable perch for small birds, and the material of the birdbath should offer some texture for tiny talons to grip. An ideal birdbath will be 1-2 inches deep, and some models include both shallow and deep areas of the basin to accommodate different birds.

  • Water Movement: Moving water will attract more birds than stagnant water in a simple basin. A birdbath that includes a dripper, water spray, bubbler or fountain is a better choice to attract a wide range of bird species. Furthermore, moving water will minimize insects and algae growth.

  • Height: The height of the birdbath is critical for which birds will readily drink from it. Smaller birds are comfortable at taller baths that give them a better field of view, while larger birds such as doves, quail and ducks prefer to drink from ground level basins.

  • Cleanliness: Elaborate birdbath designs with detailed sculptures or delicate mosaics can be more challenging to keep clean and free from damage. Simpler styles, such as concrete birdbaths, may be the best choice for ease of cleaning.

  • Design: Whether you choose a hanging birdbath, pedestal model or other basic design should depend on where you plan to put the bath. A hanging model is not the best choice if you don’t have anyplace to hang it from, and a large pedestal birdbath isn’t a good option for a yard with no suitable level areas.

  • Climate: The best birdbath for your yard is one you can use year round to provide a liquid water source for the birds. If you live in northern regions with long winters, a sturdy heated birdbath is the best choice, but if you live in warmer areas you may be more interested in a birdbath with a large capacity that will not evaporate on a daily basis.

  • Cost: A backyard birder’s budget can be meager or extravagant, but the most important thing to remember about a birdbath’s cost is that birds don’t read price tags. Choose the best birdbath model you can within your budget and the birds will be happy to drink from it.

    Choosing More Than One Birdbath

    There may not be any one birdbath that is perfect for your backyard or garden. Many birders have several birdbaths of different sizes, styles and heights scattered throughout their yards to offer a greater range of drinking options for the birds. Some birders also rotate birdbaths throughout the year, using heated models during the winter and solar birdbath fountains during the summer in order to attract the most birds. Whatever types of birdbaths you choose, if you have carefully considered the options with your budget, garden, style preferences and birds in mind, it will be a great choice to bring thirsty birds to your backyard.