Monday, August 23, 2010

How To Choose and Maintain A Birdbath

A birdbath is an essential element for bird habitat.  This article gives a few tips on how to choose and maintain a birdbath.

The birdbath in our back yard is a wonderful source of entertainment for our family.  We can see it clearly from our family room window.  The birdbath provides refreshment, discourages mites, and provides drinking water.  It's great fun to watch birds refreshing themselves in watery sprays, and it's amazing how many species are attracted to it.  Some of the species we've recently seen bathing include painted buntings and a pair of barred owls.

Whether purchasing a large or small birdbath, choose one that gently slopes toward the center.  This provides various depths for small and larger birds alike.  The water should be no deeper than 2" in the center.  The birds only want to bathe, not swim laps.

While providing a birdbath is a welcome favor, maintaining a clean one is also very important.  You wouldn't want to take a nasty bath, would you?  Cleaning your birdbath is necessary to prevent the spread of avian diseases such as Aspergillosis, Avian Pox, Salmonellosis and Trichomoniasis.  Birds who are already suffering from diseases are drawn to birdbaths just as healthy ones are.  Pathogens left behind can then infect others.

Change the water in your birdbath every day.  Wipe or brush it clean.  This will help to prevent algae buildup, as well as to remove other debris.  We have a large concrete birdbath with sloping sides, so we use a wire brush.  Rinse your birdbath, then refill it with clean water.

Disinfect your birdbath to eliminate germs and mites.  We use a solution of one part non-chlorine bleach to nine parts water, scrubbing and rinsing thoroughly one or twice per month.

Birds are especially attracted to moving water.  A dripper or spray will provide the right amount of activity.  In addition, moving water tends to discourage mosquitoes.

Birds appreciate bathing even in winter.  If you live in a region where standing water may freeze overnight, invest in a small, submersible electric heater or a heated birdbath.  When cold weather approaches, be sure to check the wiring for damage that may have occurred during storage.  Replace the appliance if damage is apparent.

Be sure to place the birdbath somewhere you can enjoy watching it.  The birds also appreciate the presence of trees or shrubs nearby so they can return to the birdbath again and again.

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