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Considerations to Make Before Putting a Bird Bath in Your Yard

A bird bath placed in your backyard can provide you with enjoyment from watching the birds, and the birds a place to drink and bathe.  I'm going to go over considerations to make before buying a bird bath.  I'll discuss where to place to your bird bath, types of bird baths, how high to fill it, different styles, maintenance and how to attract birds.

Where to Place Your Bird Bath

The placement of your bird bath is the first consideration to make, and it is probably the most important one.  People often think that birds will enjoy the bird bath no matter where you put it, but this is not true.  If placed in the wrong area, bird baths can actually do more harm than good.  For example, if you place a bird bath under a tree or bush that regularly sheds its leaves, the bird bath will soon become filled with debris and can cause bacteria to grow, which will end up giving the birds a disease.  A bird bath that is too far away from where birds are active will most likely never be used.  And lastly, a bird bath that is near where predators live (such as where your cat or dog is) will either never be used, or your bird will be killed by the predator.  Fortunately, there are many good places where you can place your bird bath.  I'll go over some tips that will help you decide where to place your bird bath.

Consider the Size

The size of your bird bath will have a big impact on where you place it.  A large bird bath will need to be placed on sturdy ground, such as concrete.  Soft soil will not be able to hold the weight of a large bird bath.  Also, if you buy a large bird bath, you should not put it near small plants as the bird bath may crush them.  A small bird bath, on the other hand, can be placed nearly anywhere.  Soft soil should be able to hold the weight of a small bird bath, and the bird bath cannot damage small plants.

Make Sure It Is Visible to Birds

While a bird bath may look cute in the corner on your patio, if it is not visible to birds the bird bath is useless.  Make sure to place it in an area where birds can see it.  This also means that if you have a garden bird bath, make sure your plants do not cover the bird bath.  If plants do begin to cover it, either trim the plants or move the bird bath to a different location.

Put It In an Area Where You Can Watch the Birds

While sometimes we buy a bird bath to simply help out our feathered friends, most of the time a bird bath is purchased so that bird watchers can easily watch the birds.  If this is the case for you, make sure you put the bird bath in a place that you can easily see it.  This could be by a window, or out on your porch.  Don't forget to put it in a place where you can easily view it in the Winter as well.

Put It Near a Water Source

You will constantly need to fill the bird bath, so it is a good idea to put the bird bath near a water source.  This will save you from hauling water out in buckets to the bird bath.  If you will have to place the bird bath far away from a water source, make sure the hose will be able to reach it.


If the bird bath is too out in the open, birds may feel unsafe.  Try placing your bird bath near a tree or bush so that birds can quickly fly into it if they feel threatened.  Make sure it is not too close to trees, because predators may hide in the trees.  Also, trees and bushes can cause debris to fall in the water.  Try placing the bird bath several feet away from a tree or bush, so that it is a safe environment for birds.

Considerations If You Have a Solar Bird Bath

If you have a solar bird bath, you will need to put it in a place that gets plenty of sun.  Also, another type of bird bath that requires being in an exact location is the fountain bird bath.  The fountain bird bath must be located near a water source, or it will not work.

How Much Water to Put In It

Similar to the placement of your bird bath, how much water you put in a bird bath can often cause more harm than good to birds.  Too much water can create the risk of birds drowning.  But not enough water can cause birds to dehydrate.  Once birds know you have a bird bath, they will continue to come to drink from it.  If you one day let the bird bath go dry, those birds will dehydrate, especially on hot days where other water sources are dry as well.  Here are some tips to help you fill your bird bath the right height with water:

  • It is recommended for the water to be around 0.5 to 1 inch at the edges, and sloping to a maximum of 2 inches deep in the middle of the bath.
  • The edge of the bird bath should be much shallower than the middle of the bird bath.
  • Consider what type of birds live in your area.  Smaller birds will not use bird baths that are too deep.  Therefore, if you have small birds where you live, try buying a smaller bird bath.

Types of Bird Baths

Now it is time to go over the types of bird baths.  Remember that the type of bird bath you get will depend on where you live.  For example, if you buy a solar bird bath you must live in a sunny location.  Here are the types of bird baths:

Ground Bird Baths

Ground bird baths are probably as simple as bird baths get.  It is basically a bird bath bowl that lays on the ground, with no bird bath stand holding it up.  Ground bird baths are a good option for birds, and this type appears more natural to birds.  Because most natural water sources are near the ground, birds will find a ground bird bath to be more natural.  Ground bird baths will also attract larger birds, such as ducks and quails.

Pedestal Bird Baths

Pedestal bird baths are the most popular type of bird bath.  A pedestal bird bath is basically a bird bath bowl on a bird bath stand.  A good place to get pedestal bird baths is  Duncraft bird baths also sell other types of bird baths too.  Duncraft also sells hanging bird baths, fountain bird baths, ground bird baths, and other bird bath accessories.

Hanging Bird Baths

If you are wanting cheap bird baths, hanging bird baths are a good choice.  A hanging bird bath is a bird bath bowl hung by chains.  It is meant to be hung on a tree, garden hook, or gutter.

Fountain Bird Baths

A fountain bird bath is a good choice if you are wanting a bird bath with motion.  The fountain part of the bird bath is usually in the center, and there is some still water around the edges.  The fountain may either be a bubblier or a spray.

Heated Bird Baths

This type of bird bath is great for those who live in colder climates.  This type will keep the water from freezing, but not allow it to get too hot.  This allows birds to still enjoy the bird bath even in the Winter.

Solar Bird Baths

Solar bird baths use solar energy to either heat the bird bath or create a fountain. This type of bird bath is best for those who live in a sunny location.

Which Style Do You Want?

There are many unique bird baths for sale.  Among the unique bird baths are bird baths with creative designs, as well as different types of materials bird baths are made from.  Before purchasing a bird bath, first consider which style you would like.

Metal Bird Bath

A metal bird bath is going to be more sturdier than other types of bird baths, such as glass bird baths.  However, metal bird baths may appear more boring to some people.

Glass Bird Bath

A glass bird bath will be more fragile than other types of bird baths, such as metal or ceramic bird baths.  Make sure you keep your glass bird bath in a location where nothing can break it.

Ceramic Bird Bath

It is common for people to buy a ceramic bird bath.  The most popular ceramic bird bath is a blue ceramic bird bath.  Similar to the glass bird bath, this style is more fragile.


There are so many different colors to choose from.  You could get the most popular color, the blue bird bath, or you could be unique and get a red bird bath.  The decision is up to you.


Bird baths come in many different designs.  You could get a mosaic bird bath, which is usually very colorful and features different designs.  There are many mosaic bird baths for sale, and you may even be able to find some at local stores such as Walmart.  Another common design is a bird bath with sculptures.  Sculptures could include leaves, butterflies, small birds, fish, flowers, turtles, cats, and sometimes even people.

Bird Bath Maintenance

Bird baths overall do not need much maintenance.  However, if you do not clean the bird bath once in a while it may become full of debris, which can cause disease.  Here are some bird bath maintenance tips:

  • Remove dirt and debris from the bird bath often.  If any sticks or leaves start to build up, remove it from the bird bath.
  • When you go to refill the bird bath, dump out the old water first.
  • Spray the bird bath with a hose once in a while.  The pressure of the hose will help get rid of algae.
  • Place the bird bath in a place where it will not become filled with debris.  For example, do not put it under a tree, under a bird feeder, or under a bush.
  • Go outside once in a while and simply check the bird bath.  Make sure the water if filled, and that the water is clean.  If you are using a solar bird bath or fountain bird bath, make sure everything is working.

Best Ways to Attract Birds to It

There are many ways to attract birds to your bird bath.  Sometimes you may need to add a feature to your bird bath, such as motion, and other times it may be as simple as moving your bird bath to a new area.  I'll go over some tips that will attract birds to your yard and bird bath.

Keep It Low

While a tall bird bath stand may look pretty, a lot of birds won't use it.  If you think about it, natural water sources are near the ground, so that is what birds are looking for.  Try buying a bird bath that is low to the ground.

Keep It Clean

A clean bird bath will be more appealing to birds than a dirty one.  Make sure to check your bird bath regularly to make sure it is free of dirt and debris.

Put Bird Food and a Birdhouse Near It

Sometimes birds need something else attractive to make them notice your bird bath.  Try installing a birdhouse or a bird feeder near your yard.  There are many creative DIY birdhouses that you can make, which can be a fun activity for you.

Add Motion

Birds will have a better chance of noticing a bird bath if there is motion in the water.  Motion will help reflect the sun to birds, which will catch their attention, and the birds will see the movement.  Natural water sources usually have motion, such as rivers and springs, and even ponds have motion from fish that are splashing the water.  So it may help to add motion to your bird bath too.

Keep It Filled

If a week goes by with the bird bath being empty, most likely birds will leave your area in search of a water source.  If you are wanting to attract birds to your yard, you will have to keep the bird bath filled.

Move It to a New Area

If none of these tips help attract birds to your bird bath, try moving the bird bath to a new location.  Perhaps the bird bath was hidden under bushes and could not be seen.  If so, move it out in the open.  Or perhaps birds felt threatened, and needed shelter near it.  If so, move the bird bath a few feet away from a tree.  Remember that once birds start visiting your bird bath, do not move it again.  Birds will get confused if the bird bath is in a new place, and they may not be able to find it.


I've gone over considerations to make when choosing and maintaining a bird bath in your backyard.  With many projects there are technicalities to think about, but really with bird baths it's mostly going to be fun.  Pick out one that you like and can imagine birds bathing in.  Then fill it up with water and enjoy.

Mariann Foster

I am one of our content writers for Everything Backyard. I am a mother and business owner of Big Horn Mountain Alpacas in Wyoming. I love farm life, cutting my own firewood in the mountains, and participating in local trail run races.

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