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Birds don't use my birdbaths

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karslinky blog photos
Joined: 8/28/2004
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 1197
Posted: May/07/2009 5:33 AM PST

I have two birdbaths - one in the front yard and one in the back. Both are low to the ground on low pedestals rather than the standard 3' ones - would that keep birds from using them? The one in back is plain grey cement-like material. The one in front is brown glazed. Both are near feeders and bushes for cover. Any thoughts??
hawkeye_wx photos
Joined: 10/10/2006
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Posts: 133
Posted: May/07/2009 6:57 AM PST

Birds use both of my baths. One is ~2.5 ft tall and made of something like cement... a typical bird bath. It is located in the garden area near the back fence. The other bath is only six inches tall and sits on the corner of the patio, closer to the house where most of the feeders are. It is my year-round bath because it is heated. It is black and made of a plastic material. Sometimes birds are hesitant to jump into this bath because they can't tell how deep the water is due to the color. Ultimately, our birds will drink from and bathe in both baths. The typical bath in the garden does get more use through summer.
witt blog photos
Joined: 3/28/2008
Location: Lancaster, SC
Posts: 16643
Moderator
Posted: May/07/2009 6:59 AM PST

My guess is that they have a reliable water source nearby and don't need yours. I have my make-shift baths since mine collapsed. It's on 3 levels. One about the correct height, one lower, and one flat on the ground. They are just plant pot saucers. They use all three.Two are plastic terra cotta replicas and one is a glazed ceramic. Perhaps it is the depth of the water. They don't like them real deep. I forget how much, though. No more than an inch or a little more maybe? Someone will have to be more specific with that thought.
carolyncat353 blog photos
Joined: 4/29/2008
Location: Westlake, La
Posts: 10091
Posted: May/07/2009 7:01 AM PST

I have 3 birdbaths-2 are the standard 3 ft. tall cement bird baths that the birds actually bathe in (large bowls), and I have a small one, about the height of yours, bowl is only about 8-10 inches in diameter. The birds drink out of that one, but bathe in the others. Also, do you have cats or dogs? Sometimes that will deter them. I have both, but the birds seem to know when they're not around. Also, keep fairly clean and with fresh water. I usually change my water every 2 days.
SandyleeMI photos
Joined: 11/05/2007
Location: N. MI
Posts: 94
Posted: May/08/2009 6:34 AM PST

Great responses everyone! I live on a lake, but the birds use my birdbaths like crazy. Shallow water depth (about 2") and color, as mentioned above seem to be the keys.
(I have noticed that the "little birds" like finches don't bathe...they just stop by for a drink..)
witt blog photos
Joined: 3/28/2008
Location: Lancaster, SC
Posts: 16643
Moderator
Posted: May/08/2009 7:32 AM PST

Hmmm. I hadn't thought about that, sandy. The bluebirds and chickadees bathe a lot. I'll have to see if any of the finches do. . . or don't.
karslinky blog photos
Joined: 8/28/2004
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 1197
Posted: May/09/2009 4:09 AM PST

We are near a river and I do see birds bathing in the street when it's rained - maybe they are discreet and bathe when I am not watching!! I have to admit I am lax in cleaning them so there are frequent leaves in the back bath - but the front one is usually cleaner. Maybe I don't keep them full enough... I'll try to be more diligent!
SandyleeMI photos
Joined: 11/05/2007
Location: N. MI
Posts: 94
Posted: May/09/2009 3:12 PM PST

I keep my baths cleaned on a regular basis...mainly cuz they POOP in there too!

Easiest way is to dump the bowl...then simply wipe it down with about a teaspoon of bleach on a double paper towel. Rinse and refill. Keeps the gunk and bacteria out...and a small amount of bleach residue is not harmful to birds...(i.e., "chlorinated" water) ... the small amount will evaporate quickly.
poeticpeony blog photos
Joined: 4/04/2006
Location: NE Ohio, deck chuckin' fool
Posts: 9437
Moderator
Posted: May/14/2009 5:58 AM PST

Yeah, we don't need tie dye feathers! lol I have a mangled trash can lid sitting about 6 inches off the ground with a rock in the middle so it doesn't tip and a tall metal birdbath my dad made long time ago. It's kind of rusty in the basin, but it's easy for them to grip. I'm wondering if you put something in the bottom so it's not slippery on the feeties if they'd use yours more. Or maybe they need somethig to hop on and into the water. The birds tend to use my tall one more, but it's got a flat lip that gradually dips in the center to a couple inches. The snowbirds (juncos) loved it before they left.
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