Cedar Waxwing Bird Bath: Elise Blosser

Birds love birdbaths, so they are a great way to put out the welcome mat for your favorite wildlife species. All you need for your birdbath is a cleaning brush and some water from a hose, faucet, or watering can.

Buy or make a birdbath.

You can purchase a premade birdbath or make your own. You can also place large plant saucers or ceramic bowls on tree stumps, logs, or on large plant pots (filled with soil for more stability). If you have an artistic nature or kids looking for a craft, painting ceramic plant pots is a fun activity.

Make your bath accessible to small birds.

To entice small birds to jump in, a bath should be no more than three inches deep. To allow birds to get a foothold while bathing, the interior surface should be textured. If the container is a little too deep or too slippery, line the bottom with gravel or stones.

Set up your bath near shrubs or trees.

Whether you place them on bases or directly on the ground, select locations where birds can have easy access to cover in order to avoid cats and other predators.

Keep your birdbath ice-free in winter.

You can invest in an electric heater designed for the purpose (some shut off automatically during the higher day temperatures). If you have time to check your birdbaths in the morning, you can move them into your garage until the ice melts and rotate them with baths filled with water.

Clean birdbaths in warm weather.

In order to keep the water fresh and healthy for birds, clean the birdbaths regularly in summer. This involves scrubbing out any bird droppings and algae. It’s important to change standing water regularly to avoid providing habitat for mosquito breeding.

Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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