As well as supplying fresh water for the birds that visit your garden, a bird bath will also make an attractive water feature. However, although it is tempting to buy a bird bath that is simply aesthetically pleasing, you need to consider what birds need when choosing a bird bath - after all, birds will not appreciate a good looking bird bath for the same reasons that we do and the best bird baths are designed with birds in mind.

Sparrow On Bird Bath

Bird baths are available in a variety of materials including metal, plastic, ceramic, stone, concrete and fibreglass and many bird baths include elaborate designs and carvings which may make them more difficult to keep clean. Ornamental bird baths are often less practical due to the depth of water they hold. Birds feel vulnerable in deep water so will avoid any bird baths where the water depth is over a couple of inches and deep bird baths can also be potentially dangerous, particularly for smaller birds.

The water bowl of your bird bath should have a gentle slope from its edge to the centre so that birds can bathe or drink in water levels they are most comfortable with.

Ideally you should choose a bird bath made from a textured material to provide a steady footing for birds so they do not slip on the wet surface. If the bird bath is made of plastic or metal and the surface is very smooth rub it with coarse sandpaper to roughen it up.

If your bird bath doesn't have a flat edge place a small rock or piece of wood in the bath for birds to safely land on before entering the water. You will find that they will also perch on it whilst drying off and preening after bathing.

The sound of splashing water is a big enticement for birds so consider buying a bird bath with a fountain or add a portable water pump. You can buy solar powered bird baths and pumps which are kind to the environment.

Take a look at this selection of bird baths to find one suitable for your garden.

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