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HeronHow? Read on to learn the qualities important to look for when buying a birdbath and the few simple rules for placing a birdbath in your backyard. When you provide a reliable source of fresh water, you will draw birds regardless of the season. In summer, birdbaths are by far more effective in luring birds to your yard than most types of bird feed, because most birds’ preferred insect food is abundant.

First, some help with choosing your birdbath. There’s a wide variety available, and you’ll be able to find one to suit any budget, aesthetic, and yard size. A large diameter (16” or more) bath will provide lots of room for flockmates to share. To attract the maximum diversity of birds, look for a bath basin that gradually deepens in the middle to about 4 inches to allow many sizes of bird to find the right bathing depth.

Pay attention to the lip of the basin. It’s best if there’s convenient perching space for the birds to preen and dry, and also to stop in for a drink without getting wet. The texture at the bottom of the bath may be important for some species, and many of the plastic versions have a rough texture to provide birds a good grip. Alternatively, you can also place small washed gravel in the bottom of your birdbath basin to adjust the depth and provide that grip.

It is critical to place your birdbath well off the ground to keep birds from the danger of neighborhood cats. Then, make sure the birdbath has cover from above to shelter bathing birds from fly-over predators, and keep it within a few meters of thick cover to provide an easy escape route in case danger emerges. Shy birds will be much more comfortable bathing in a quiet, sheltered corner of your yard. Keeping your water source under cover will also prevent excessive evaporation and can save you some work in the task of keeping it filled.

Once you’ve selected and placed your birdbath, don’t forget to brush the surface of the bath regularly to dislodge debris and hinder the growth of algae. After brushing, rinse and refill your bath with clean water. Periodically, use a gentle cleanser as well, but be sure to rinse the basin completely free of any detergent residue before refilling it for birds to drink from! A basin made of copper will naturally retard the growth of algae and bacteria, but the basin will still need to be cleaned of other debris regularly.

With these simple guidelines, you’ll be picking up your binoculars often to study the diversity of birds that will be flocking to your yard! You may just pick up wildlife photography next.
About the Author: Max Mehlman
I am a biologist pursuing a PhD examining avian neurobiology and behavior. I have conducted a wide variety of research projects ranging from cognitive and neurobiological laboratory studies to behavioral field experiments. As a writer for YourBirdOasis, a retailer of backyard birding supplies and an essential resource for burgeoning and expert birders alike, I have the exciting opportunity to share my knowledge of and passion for birds with many online communities. Visit http://www.yourbirdoasis.com for a huge selection of bird feeders, birdhouses, and everything else you'll need to set up your own backyard bird sanctuary!
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