Myths About Bird Baths

A bird bath is a simple but effective way of attracting birds to your garden. 

You may have heard a number of things about bird baths that are not true and which can lead to unhealthy or unsafe bird baths that provide a dangerous environment for your garden birds. We’ve taken some of the most popular and below attempt to dispel them.

Blue Tit On A Bird Bath


Myth: It’s not worth having a bird bath as only a few birds will use them

Truth: Birds not only need clean water for drinking but also for bathing and preening. Many birds who are not interested in the food you put out for them, such as those species that prefer to forage for natural food in trees and on the ground, will still visit gardens that provide water.


Myth: Bird baths are expensive to buy and run

Truth: Bird baths come in all shapes and sizes, and you don’t even need to buy one if you’re low on budget. You could use an upturned dustbin lid, a large shallow dish, or a circular plant tray. 

Of course you can choose to buy a more ornate bird bath but even heated bird baths tend to run off solar power which is a free source of energy.


Myth: A heated bird bath is unsafe because wet birds will freeze to death in winter

Truth: When the air temperature is freezing birds will not use a bird bath to bathe in. However, they still require drinking water which a heated bird bath will provide. Birds are well insulated to survive in cold weather even if their feathers get damp.


Myth: A bird bath needs to be deep to provide enough water

Truth: The ideal depth of a bird bath is 2-8 cm. Any deeper and it will be too awkward for birds to get at. Placing some small rocks in your bird bath will ensure that small birds are able to use your bird bath.


Myth: It doesn’t matter if your bird bath gets dirty; birds drink from dirty puddles

Truth: Unlike puddles, the water in a bird bath will become stagnant and harbour bacteria and parasites that can cause avian diseases so it is important that you change the water and clean your bird bath regularly.


Myth: You need to clean a bird bath by scrubbing it

Truth: To make cleaning your bird bath easier you can add special bird-safe chemicals to the water. If you maintain your bird bath your bird bath regularly then you are unlikely to need to clean it by scrubbing.

Although a bird bath is one of the simplest way to offer water to your garden birds other water sources will attract them such as sprinklers, fountains and ponds. Standing water is good but moving water is better and will attract more birds as they come to investigate the noise of the water.

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