With summer fast approaching, many of you have been asking us for advice on how to make your garden more appealing to visitors. Now there are many options you can take to make your garden more visually attractive, but this doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have visitors every day. As such in this article we are focusing on one, simple method of making your garden more enticing and more popular with visitors;
Yes, that’s right! We’re talking about the humble birdbath in this article - with a focus on how to choose the right type of bath for your garden and how to make sure it’s popular with your feathered friends. Just follow the simple tips and tricks below to get guests in no time!
Choose your material with care
While the various patterns, designs and aesthetic flourishes that feature on most baths won’t make much difference (for the birds at least!) The material your bath is made from on the other hand, has the potential to make a big impact.
Metal baths made from copper, aluminium, cast-iron and the like are more durable and therefore will last longer. In the case of copper baths, they are also more resistant to algae and bacterial growth which will make maintenance easier. All metal baths will heat up in direct sunlight however, so care should be taken during the summer to ensure that either water levels remain constant and suitably cool and/or that the bath be in a shady spot.
Glass baths whether plain, styled or with solar powered features are an attractive and increasingly popular option for your garden. They are competitively priced and thanks to their lightweight, they are easy to move around the garden as needs change (e.g. Directly in sunlight during Winter, in a shadier spot during Summer). Just be careful when manually de-icing with tools and remember to secure your birdbath to the ground during high-winds so as to prevent any tipping over!
Plastic or Polyresin baths are a common, affordable and popular choice especially in smaller gardens. Coming in a vast variety of shapes, sizes and patterns they offer customers a great choice of products to choose from and thus make it easier to create that perfect garden look. It is worth considering that these types are the most vulnerable to damage however, whether from winter frost or just accidental wear-and-tear. Additionally much like the glass baths above, you should secure them during high-winds and be diligent when de-frosting.
Concreteand Stone baths are another common and popular type, due in large part to their durability and sturdiness. While they aren’t generally at risk from high winds and are relatively frost proof, but they do have an Achilles heel. Namely that they become mossy faster than baths made from other materials – with moderate to high amounts of moss making the water dirtier and the basin slippery for birds. Due to this we recommend that those with a concrete or stone bath make sure to clean it regularly with a stiff brush (and you should never use chemicals for this!)
Picking the Perfect Place
Now it’s likely that you have a perfect spot in mind for your new birdbath, but this bath isn’t just for you – it’s also for the birds! Consequentially you should consider their perspective too, as if they have misgivings they’ll just fly by without telling you. We therefore recommend that you always heed the following whilst choosing a new spot for your birdbath;
Shade is important! Birds bathe to cool off as well as keep clean, so placing the bath in a shaded area is helpful (especially for baths made of metal). Not only does this help keep the water cool, but it also reduces evaporation and decreases algae growth.
But be sure to look up! Existing bird nests, flowers and trees that shed many leaves all produce organic litter that will dirty any birdbath below. While some mess is unavoidable, you can save yourself a lot of trouble with a bit of placement planning.
Make escaping easy! Birds need to feel secure when bathing, so placing a bath right next to a large bush or somewhere else a predator can hide is a bad idea. Instead consider placing it in a clear spot that will let the birds see any approaching danger.
Out of sight, out of use! Last but not least, you need to place your bath in a location that will be easy for birds to find and make use of otherwise all of your preparation will have been for nought! Similarly if you struggle to see your birdbath in the garden, then you will be less likely to remember to switch out the water and engage in any other cleaning that is required.
Keeping your bath popular and in great shape
If you’re still reading then we’d just like to say thanks and tell you that you now have all the knowledge you need to pick and place a great birdbath! We do still have a few tips for you though, as any birdbath regardless of design, materials or cost can be made more appealing;
Movement makes contentment! Birds are naturally drawn to running streams and other moving bodies of water, particularly during the winter months. To simulate these effect and thus draw in more visitors, we recommend adding a dripper, a mister or a low-pressure water-hose if all else fails.
Firm footing for friends! Much like how birds will refuse to use a bath that doesn’t let them feel secure, they will also avoid any bath with a surface that they cannot grip as it will hinder any quick-escapes they need to make! To avoid this issue, just place some small rocks or pebbles at the bottom of the basin for them.
Wide as a puddle, deep as… a big puddle? Yes, you read that right! While it is important that the birdbath contains enough water to support a variety of birds, too much water will scare off or even endanger small songbirds. As such we would strongly advise against placing more than 2 inches of water within the basin.
Freshwater not Salt water! In the event that your birdbath freezes over during the cold winter months, remember to avoid salt and any chemicals you might be tempted to use such as antifreeze. Not only will these drive away any birds, but they will also put them at risk.
Now that you’ve got those tips in mind, you truly have everything you need to succeed!
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