How to Attract Birds to Use a Birdbath

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For a bigger bird population, just add water. Lure more species to your backyard with these proven birdbath tips.

Bluebirds drink from a birdbathCourtesy Deb Forster
Juvenile bluebirds drink from a birdbath.

How to Choose a Birdbath

Pedestal birdbaths allow you to watch birds splish-splashing around right from your window. Consider a ground-level bath, too. It mimics natural water sources and lures birds that like to stay low. Check out our favorite birdbaths to attract birds.

Where to Place a Birdbath

Nestle birdbaths in a shady spot (to keep water fresh) that is near trees or shrubs, but not so near that predators can lurk in ambush. When a bird is taking a dip and a predator flies by, it needs a safe place.

Birds Prefer Shallow Water

Shallow basins are best. The water should be no deeper than 2 inches in the middle and ½ to 1 inch at the edges. Place rocks or stones in the middle of your bath for birds to perch and drink without getting their feet wet.

Hummingbird flies near a birdbathCourtesy Desiree Skatvold
This hummingbird couldn’t resist a fountain.

Will Hummingbirds Use a Birdbath?

Hummingbirds love a light mist! To attract more birds, add motion with a dripper, fountain or mister. The noise and movement catches a bird’s attention better than standing water. Here’s how to build your own hummingbird mister.

How to Clean a Birdbath

Clean and rinse your bath every couple of days and then add fresh water. Grab a wire brush for a deep clean if algae forms. You can also rinse and scrub the basin out with a solution of nine parts water to one part vinegar. This is how to clean hummingbird feeders.

How to Make a Birdbath

Your feathered friends won’t mind if you recycle. Give a trash can lid, old frying pan or flowerpot tray new life as a quick and easy DIY birdbath.

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Kirsten Schrader
Kirsten is the content director of Birds & Blooms. She's been with the brand in various roles since 2007. She has many favorite birds (it changes with the seasons), but top picks include the red-headed woodpecker, Baltimore oriole and rose-breasted grosbeak. Her bucket list bird is the painted bunting.