Birdbaths are a great way to attract birds to your yard. There are some important things to consider, however, before making this purchase.
There is a recent trend towards dark metal birdbaths. There is an important consideration to think about before buying one of these; the health and safety of the birds you want to visit may be compromised. If these birdbaths are placed in direct sun, the water will heat up considerably and the metal rim will become burning hot. A bird can become ill from the water or burn its feet on the rim. If you decide to purchase a metal bath, please put it in the shade only.
A better choice would be a plastic birdbath. Plastic? Yes. There are some very good reasons why a cheap plastic birdbath is an okay thing to purchase. They are inexpensive. They are recyclable so they are not difficult to get rid of eventually. They won’t break your back if you move them about. They are extremely easy to clean. They can withstand a typical Westcoast Winter without any concern. The birds like them! If you think they are hideous, you can disguise them in a few shrubs that grow to the same height.
The next choice would be concrete. They are aesthetically pleasing and not too expensive. But consider that they are heavy. It never fails that when I want to do some moving of my concrete birdbath, no one is around so I invariably try to move it myself. An accident waiting to happen! These are easy to clean with a stiff brush and the birds also enjoy them. In my climate, I need to cover them over winter to prevent crumbling and cracking; thus the need to move them!
My all time favorite birdbath is natural stone with a small depression. These are easy to find in and along rivers, but unless you or a loved one is the Incredible Hulk, you will have no way to move it to your yard. I found a stone at a local landscape supply yard. It was considered defective because of the depression, so it was on sale! I was able to purchase this beautiful stone for less than a birdbath would cost.
There are numerous other options. Some birds actually prefer to bathe on ground level. You can place a shallow dish on the ground and it will be popular as well. Just try to place it where there are no lurking cats. You can hang the same dish from a tree as another possibility. Hummingbirds like misting water so a fountain would be required to attract them.
A birdbath needs to be cleaned and refilled regularly. This means twice a day in the summer heat. A good jet of water to displace the dirty puddle, then a gentle fill from the hose is all that is required to keep the birds healthy and the mosquitos out. Every week or so, scrub with a good stiff brush.
Another consideration is the depth of the bowl. Most birds that visit your yard will not be ducks and they cannot swim. Chickadees and other small birds will want a shallow bowl or a deeper one with a “beach” graduation, where they can bathe without going over their heads. Robins and Flickas and BlueJays can tolerate a deeper bowl.
I hope this post has helped you make a decision as to the best birdbath for your yard..happy bird watching!