Birds Bathe To Stay Warm, so make sure that there are one or more bird baths on the property.

Feeders are what most people think of when trying to attract birds, yet water is often needed the most.  A cool drink and a bath will keep your birds in top condition.  Feathers are cleaned and softened while bathing, then straightened and realigned during preening.  Your birds will fly faster from predators and stay warmer during cool evenings with clean feathers. 

My hummingbirds fly through mist and other birds including 12 painted buntings use a shallow water dish to bathe.  This bird bath has a drip-tube and mister attached and is timed for one hour each day.  Shrubs planted around the bird bath provide an escape route from hawks and raising the dish 3 feet off of the ground will keep it out of the reach of cats. Bird baths can be made from a trashcan lid, a flowerpot saucer, or mold one out of mortar.  Depth should vary from one inch along the edge to three inches in the center.

For a water source, I attach a timer to the outside faucet and screw a barbed nipple onto the timer. A one quarter inch diameter tube is pushed onto the nipple and extended to your bird bath. You can attach a mister to this or just let it drip. The rate can be adjusted with a valve back at the faucet. Or use the V shaped attachment to the faucet so that you can adjust the bath water rate before the timer, yet leave the main spigot open with a hose attached to the other. Just push the valve open for the hose to work and leave the other side set for the bath.

  A small pond will bring in flocks of migrating birds and an occasional heron.  It only took an hour to dig a 12-foot by 10-foot pond 12 inches deep.  I used a thick rubber liner purchased on-line and lay logs and rocks to hide the edge.  Leave some areas along the edge 2 inches deep for small birds to bathe in.  In the fall, 30 migrating robins and cedar waxwings often come at a time for a drink.  This is a death trap for mosquitoes if you add mosquito fish and aquatic plants for them to hide in.  No need for chemicals, just rake out the algae if it gets too thick.     

There are many ways to provide shallow water for birds to drink and bathe in.  Look around and you probably have something lying around that will work to make one or more bird baths.  Place your bird baths where they can be seen from your dining area, living room or other high traffic indoor spaces and enjoy the fun.