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.
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:
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.