Birds always need fresh, clean water for drinking and bathing, but during the hottest summer months it can be hard to keep bird baths filled when the water can evaporate in just an hour or two. Fortunately, it can be easy and inexpensive to provide birds with more water, with no need for elaborate ponds or waterfalls.
Providing More Water
While even a single, simple bird bath can be useful as a water source, it can quickly run dry in hot weather. To ensure that birds have plenty of water…
- Use More Baths: Adding additional bird baths in different locations around the yard gives birds multiple water sources to choose from should any one bath dry out. Choose baths of different sizes, shapes and depths to accommodate more birds and give them more choices.
- Use a Waterer: Unlike open bird baths, a waterer includes a sheltered reservoir that can hold a greater supply of water than the bath itself. Because not all the water is exposed in a basin, it evaporates more slowly and the water supply is continually refreshed. Outdoor pet bowls often include built-in waterers, but there are also specialized bird baths or hanging bird waterers available.
- Add Ice: Instead of refilling a bird bath with water that will soon evaporate, add a large chunk of ice (such as by freezing water in a bowl) to the basin. The ice will take longer to melt, and the cooler water will be extra refreshing to birds.
- Take Advantage of Sprinklers: If you use automatic sprinklers, position an open basin bird bath so it will be refilled as those sprinklers operate. This may mean lowering the level of a pedestal or moving a bath so it is in reach of the water spray, but it will help keep the water available to birds without constant refills.
- Make a Jug Dripper: Refresh a bird bath and add rippling motion that will attract birds at the same time by suspending a simple plastic jug above it from a hook. Add a pinhole in the bottom of the jug and another in the top to create a slow drip that will gradually replenish the water below.
No matter how much water you add to your backyard, be sure to clean each water source regularly so it is fresh and safe for birds without growing bacteria or encouraging disease. With plenty of water available, you’ll soon have more backyard birds visiting for cool drinks and refreshing baths all summer long.