Bird Baths

Explore different styles of bird baths

Bird baths are designed to entice birds to visit your yard by offering them fresh, clean water to drink or bathe in. They are especially attractive to birds during extended periods of dry, hot weather, when water is hard for them to come by.

Historically, bird baths and fountains have consisted solely of pedestal-mounted basins made from concrete. However, a wide range of alternate styles have become popular in recent years, including solar bird baths and Southwest-style bird baths.

Modern Bird Bath Styles

If you're considering adding a bird bath to your yard, you should choose a style that fits with the architecture of your home. Elaborately sculpted and classically inspired concrete bird baths don't make the best choice if your home's exterior is decidedly stark, sleek and contemporary.

Some of the various bird baths that are popular with today's homeowners include:

  • Copper bird baths. While they're also available in traditional styles, many copper bird baths are tiered systems that are designed to sit close to the ground. They make a good choice if you want a touch of elegant flair and you're sure your yard is safe from predators.
  • Hanging bird baths. Rather than sitting on a pedestal, hanging bird baths are suspended from a tree or a structural attachment linked to your house. The advantage of this style is that you can place the bird bath at a safe elevation from the ground, allowing birds to fly up to it but keeping squirrels, cats, raccoons and other predators away.
  • Heated bird baths. Just about any style, from stone bird baths to copper bird baths, can be adapted to include a heating system. Heated bird baths are an excellent way to attract regular avian visitors to your yard, especially during the early spring and later autumn when the weather is cool.
  • Solar bird baths. Powered by the sun, these bird baths are a popular sub-type of heated garden fountain. While they tend to come with a heftier up-front cost, you'll save a good deal on your energy bills down the line.

Important Considerations for Choosing the Right Bird Bath

When selecting a bird bath for your home, consider the features that attract birds to bird baths in the first place. Primarily, birds are naturally drawn to the sound of running water, so if you can offer this, you're more likely to see a higher volume of traffic.

Birds also need safe places to perch; their feet are curved and their claws can only grasp relatively narrow objects. The water should also be shallow enough, at least in parts of the basin, for birds to actually perch inside it.

Finally, your bird bath needs to offer safety to your visitors. Leave at least 2 feet of open space on all sides to allow birds to see and escape predators in time, particularly if you have house cats that venture outdoors. Birds' feathers are heavier when they're wet, which also makes it harder for them to fly away quickly.

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