In the midst of summer, birds seek out sources of water more often. And what better way to enhance your feeding station than with a birdbath? There’s something exciting about watching birds utilize a bath you have provided for them and in summer, it not only keeps their feathers clean, but helps cool them off.
Most of your backyard birds bathe in a similar way, using their neck, wings, and tail to scoop up water and a vigorous shake and rocking behavior that spreads the water throughout their feathers. Once they get started, they almost appear to be in a hypnotic state…but rest assured they’re extra alert due the vulnerability wet feathers present.
Once sufficiently wet, birds will hop to a nearby branch (hint for placement of your birdbath!), shake off excess water, and begin “preening”…combing their feathers with their beak and squeezing out even more water. This removes dust and dirt and aligns the individual “barbules” of the feathers to create a solid unit used for flight, temperature regulation, or contour.
Caring for a birdbath is important. Situating them near a hose makes for convenient cleaning and refilling. They should receive partial sun (as opposed to full sun) to slow the growth of algae and should be scrubbed with a brush regularly to keep the surface clean.
Traditionally, birdbaths have been heavy, concrete structures similar to an immovable sculpture in the garden. But today there a variety of materials and styles to choose from. Accessories such as the “water wiggler” and Mister/Drippers keep water moving which helps prevent mosquitoes and also attracts the eye of canopy dwellers like tanagers and warblers. Heaters can be added in the winter to provide a water source year-round. Stop in Wild Birds Unlimited for all your birdbath needs!
PHOTO CAP: Bird Baths attract all kinds of Wild Birds. You never know WHOO you will see!