Splish Splash: Add a Bird Bath for Hummingbirds to Your Yard

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A bird bath for hummingbirds will catch their attention with moving water. Add a hummingbird bird bath to attract more pretty flyers.

Will a Hummingbird Use a Bird Bath?

hummingbird bird bathCourtesy Lisa Swanson
Anna’s hummingbird enjoying a bird bath

Most backyard birds love to bathe and splash around in a bird bath, hummingbirds included! Although they occasionally stop at a shallow bath for a dip, these tiny birds prefer to wet their feathers by flying through or sitting under a gentle spray. One of the best ways to transform your landscape into an ideal hummingbird habitat is to incorporate a moving water feature. Add a bird bath for hummingbirds this year to attract even more of these tiny flyers.

Will hummingbirds use a birdhouse?

How to Set Up a Hummingbird Bird Bath

hummingbird bird bathCourtesy Lisa Swanson
Hummingbird at a water feature

Attract hummingbirds with moving water from fountains or bird bath sprayer attachments. Unlike other birds, hummingbirds want a light shower instead of a complete soak because their primary concern is simply to get their feathers clean. Most of their other hydration needs are met by all the sugar water and liquid flower nectar they slurp up. Hummingbirds rinse off in the rain, at splashing streams or in the spray of waterfalls, and you can re-create the same kind of natural showers they love in your own backyard. It’s easy!

To set up an inexpensive solar fountain, you’ll need a basin deep enough to submerge a small pump or hold a floating model. The basin should be wide enough to catch and recycle the falling spray. A classic pedestal bird bath can work; its basin is usually both wide and deep. But because it may be too deep for hummingbirds, you should add stones if needed to keep the water shallow.

Here’s how to make a DIY hummingbird mister.

How to Maintain a Hummingbird Bird Bath

Bnbhc18 Tammy Windsor Brown 4Courtesy Tammy Windsor Brown
Female black-chinned hummingbird playing in a fountain

Maintenance is fairly simple, too. Make sure to keep an eye on the water level, especially on windy days. Refill the basin as needed to assure that the pump doesn’t run dry. The best thing about a solar fountain is that you don’t need an electrical outlet, so you can put the bird bath almost anywhere. Just be sure that the small solar panel attached by a cord to the pump, is in direct sunlight. The fountain may temporarily stop spraying on overcast days or if a large cloud moves across the sun. Once you have your solar fountain bubbling away, it’s time to amp things up.

Learn how to attract birds to a bird bath.

Place Perches Nearby

Bnbbyc17 Sina NorrisCourtesy Sina Norris
Young male ruby-throated hummingbird fluffing his feathers after a rain shower

To keep clean, hummingbirds preen their feathers after a bath or a visit to a mister. Add a tiny perch beside it so you can watch one of these busy birds for a few extra minutes as it stops to buzz its wings and contort its body to catch every drop of water. To make a resting spot, choose a slim branching stick (about 4 feet long) with twigs skinny enough for tiny feet to easily grasp. Dead, twiggy branches that fall from maples and other deciduous trees make ideal perches. Here’s how to make a DIY hummingbird swing.

Push the bottom of the stick into the soil beside the basin to anchor it. It’s even better if part of the branch extends through the spray, so hummingbirds can have a spot right in the droplets. Then just sit back and enjoy some special moments of watching zipping, preening hummingbirds in your backyard showers.

Learn how to repair a cracked bird bath.

Clean Your Hummingbird Bird Bath Frequently

hummingbird bird bathCourtesy Leesa White
Hummingbird splashing in a bubbling fountain

Clean water keeps hummingbirds coming back. Reader Lisa Swanson of Maricopa, Arizona, has this advice: “I disassemble my fountain and use a brush and warm water to clean it every two to three days, then refill it with fresh water.”

Find out how (and how often) to clean bird feeders.

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Sally Roth
Sally Roth is an award-winning author of more than 20 popular books about gardening, nature, and birds, including the best-selling Backyard Bird Feeder's Bible. Roth is also a contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. She and her husband share their home in the high Rockies with a variety of animals.