Bird Baths and Hot Tubs
Song Bird whistle-wetters and more


"Bird Baths and Hot Tubs"

The three essentials of Song Birds are Food, Water and Habitat.
Water is discussed here.

Bird Baths are put in back yards for two reasons;
they provide essential water for Song Birds,
and they provide enjoyment for Bird Watchers.

As far as the Birds are concerned, a puddle of water would suffice.
However, Cardinals have been known to fly across a Creek from their Nest,
to a  natural Spring for their fresh drinking water.

Your own Bird Bath can be as simple as a shallow Bowl under a Downspout, or as elaborate as a back yard Pond with a Fountain powered by an electric Pump, complete with a mobile Water Wheel, Peacocks, Parrots and caged Canaries.

Whatever your design, once the Birds become accustomed to your source, you should keep it supplied with fresh water. If you allow it to become stagnant it will attract mosquitoes. There are large Tablets available from Garden Centers to kill Mosquitoes in small Ponds.

Some Song Birds prefer to eat and drink at ground level,  but if your back yard is frequented by Cats or other predatory Creatures, then it may be wise to keep them elevated. Of course, you always have the option of both low and high Bird Baths.

Like Bird Feeders, Bird Baths should be located in an area with a quick escape route in case Hawks wander by your Oasis. A thick Hedge of Shrubs like Flowering Dogwood, Service Berry, Cranberry Viburnum, and Cotoneaster can serve the dual role of shelter and food.

This Bluebird family was attracted by the overhead  "Drip, drip, drip".

Water movement is especially attractive to Song birds. You can create this attraction with Pumps or by Gravity. A simple concave rock with a Water Jug suspended above it can create an attracting drip. An elevated Rain Barrel can feed several lines of Drip Tubing to create drips. A Pond or Stream which is higher than the Bird Bath location can also serve this purpose.

Weekly scrubbing of  Bird Baths will help to control Algae and certain diseases. Three ounces of Chlorine Laundry Bleach in a quart of hot Water will help sanitize surfaces. They can be scrubbed with a stiff Brush or submerged to soak overnight. Rinse them thoroughly after this treatment, and allow them to dry.

Certain Song Bird Medications have directions to add them to Bird Bath water. Unless the Directions tell you otherwise, give your Bird bath the above treatment prior to using such Medications. 

Bird Baths which are black will absorb any Winter Sunshine that's available. A cushion of Styrofoam Insulation may help keep water from freezing. Partially covering a Bird Bath will expose it to less cooling air. A black Brick heated indoors and laid in the Bird Bath may also be helpful. A location in a protected Southern exposure should also be beneficial.

In winter it may be necessary to heat Bird Bath water.
Here are several ideas:

This Bluebird family is enjoying the warmth of an Electric Foot Mat which heats the Garbage Can Lid.

The inexpensive Heaters used in Fish Aquariums may provide sufficient heat to keep a small Bird Bath from freezing. An outdoor Light Fixture in a Bucket of Sand or Stones, with a water Basin on top may also be adequate. Any Electrical items used outdoors should be plugged into a GFCI Receptacle. Always follow the Manufacturer's Instructions.

You can  increase the efficiency of a heater,
by covering most of the Bird Bath
so there is not so much water surface area exposed to the cold to lose heat.


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