How Long Does It Take Birds To Find A Bird Bath?
If you’ve taken the time and expense of installing a bird bath in your garden, but are getting frustrated because there are no birds using it, don’t despair. Birds are by nature cautious creatures, and with good reason. Think of the predators they have to potentially face every day, barking dogs, cats, and that’s not to mention birds of prey and foxes etc.
Patience is needed when you add anything to the garden for birds, we installed another hanging feeder alongside our existing feeders and it took three weeks before we spotted our first bird using it.
On average, it takes birds between 2 – 4 weeks to find a bird bath. If the bird bath has been in your garden for longer than a month, there could be another reason the birds aren’t using it.
Possible Reasons Birds Aren’t Using A Bird Bath
There are a number of reasons why the birds aren’t using your newly installed bird bath. Let’s look at some of the most obvious before we delve deeper into reasons the birds are ignoring your bird bath.
Water Level Too Deep
The top reason birds don’t use a bird bath is the water level is too deep. Birds need to feel safe at all times, their lives often hang in the balance so they tend to not take too many chances. The water level in your bowl should be no deeper than 2 to 3 inches and it should have sloped sides making access and exit as easy as possible.
If your bowl is too deep, try adding some large stones or logs etc. to allow them a perching place to drink from.
Bowl Too Deep
Even if the water level is correct, if the sides of the container are too deep and birds do not have a clear view of their surroundings, they will not venture into the water. The sides need to be just slightly deeper than the water level to give the birds a clear view of the surrounding area.
The bird bath should be positioned in a clear area, with no obstacles close by where cats or other prey could lie in wait to ambush the birds whilst bathing. Some slight overhead branches are often ok as long as they are not strong enough to support a wily cat.
Ensure Fresh Water Daily
Remember many birds are active long before we get out of bed in the morning, particularly during Summer months. Be sure to regularly change the water with fresh, clean water every day and be sure the bird bath is full late at night so that the early birds can drink and bathe uninterrupted.
Keep The Water Defrosted
In winter, the water in bird baths freezes quickly, always replace the water with fresh, clean water and remove any ice. Never use salt or antifreeze to defrost the water as both are poisonous to birds.
Clean The Bird Bath Regularly
When birds bathe it can be a messy affair, they leave feathers, dirt, grease and even excrement in the water after bathing. If the water remains in this filthy state it can cause illness and infection. So remember to clean the bird bath and replace the water regularly.
Make Your Garden Enticing For Birds
Growing bird friendly plants, plants that attract birds for seeds, berries, nuts or fruit will all help to attract birds to your garden.Once they have become regular visitors to your garden they’re more likely to use your bird bath too. add hanging feeders, a bird table and any other feeders to attract them to your garden and they will soon be using your bath too.
Add Nesting Boxes
If you currently feed the birds, and have just installed a water feature that they haven’t found yet, try adding some nesting boxes. Once they start to use the nesting boxes they’re far more likely to use a local source of fresh water so they don’t have to leave the nest unattended for too long.
Moving Water Feature
Birds usually drink and bathe in streams and brooks where they can hear the water moving. By adding a fountain or similar to your bird bath, you will attract the birds faster than using a still bird bath. They will see and hear the moving water far quicker than just a bowl of water.
There are solar fountains on sale now for less than £5.00. These work well enough to ensure a regular flow of water in your bird bath.
Is The Bird Bath Invisible From The Sky?
It makes sense to provide some cover for your bird bath, it prevents the water from evaporating and helps some birds feel more secure. However, if they cannot spot it from overhead when they’re flying, they will not know it’s there and therefore will not visit.
Consider Your Neighbourhood
Do you live close to a small stream, brook or river? Do your neighbours already have bird baths? If you’ve answered yes to either of these questions, it could be why the birds are not using the bird bath you’ve recently installed. It could just be that they have enough sources of water in your local area.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a number of reasons why the birds are not coming to your bird bath. It could be too deep, too close to a perceived ambush trap from predators, or it could be too far from any cover.
Interestingly enough, birds are attracted to bright colours. If you have a brightly coloured bird bath birds will easily spot it from above and are more likely to spot it.
Depending on the amount of use your bird bath gets, it will need cleaning every 2 to 3 days. More if it’s in constant use.
Bird baths should be sited out of direct sunlight to avoid the water overheating. Shady areas also help to prevent too much evaporation in hot weather too. Be sure to not site the bird bath too close to any cover for predators.
Rats can typically find water in many places and are not attracted to bird baths. Bird feeders can and do attract rats but not bird baths.