With the hot dry days of summer now here providing a fresh source of water is a great way to attract the bird to your backyard or patio. If having a bird feeder is not allowed in your area, try supplying a source of water in the summer and winter to attract the birds. A source of water will attract a great variety of birds whether they are visiting the feeder or not and during the summer a source of water may be a greater attraction than your feeder.
Offering the birds a supply of water is as easy as a shallow dish or tray. A birdbath or water dish should be a shallow bowl and has a gradual slope to the center, to make it easy for the birds to wade into because songbirds do not swim like a duck. If you have a birdbath or water dish that is deep, simply add some stones to the birdbath to create shallow pools within it. These little pools will make it easier for the songbirds to use your birdbath.
When deciding on where to locate your birdbath, consider placing it in an open area where the birds can see the birdbath and any predators. Also try and have trees or shrubs near by, eight or ten feet away. This way the birds have somewhere close to hide if a predator shows up or just a place to perch and preen. Some birds will have a little difficulty flying after a bath, as they are water logged, so these close perches are handy. Do not place the birdbath to close to the shrubs and ground cover, as this will give predators, like cats, an advantage to simply pounce on the unsuspecting birds. Having that bit of space between the shrubs and the birdbath means the cat will be seen and give the birds that split second they need to escape.
Adding a birdbath to your backyard does not always mean instant birds, they need time to find something new, such as a birdbath or feeder. To help the birds find the birdbath easily, add the sound of moving water. Birds have great hearing and the sound of moving water will help attract the birds. There are many ways to create the sound of moving water. There are birdbath drippers that sit in the birdbath and attach to the garden hose. A small drip of water is all that is needed for the birds to hear and find the water and it also keeps the birdbath topped up and fresh. As the drip is slow, water consumption is very minimal. Some drippers come as a spray that allows the birds to fly through the water to bathe, something hummingbirds like. Other ways to create a dripper is with a pop bottle or jug. Poke a pinhole into the bottom, fill with water and hang above the birdbath. Just fill the bottle when empty.
Cleaning is also important, as diseases may be transferred between birds. Using the cleaning solution that is used for the feeders, 1 part bleach mixed with 9 parts water, also works great for cleaning and sterilizing the birdbath. It is best to regularly clean the birdbath, 2 or 3 times a week or every time the birdbath is filled. Cleaning the birdbath every few days will also help to eliminate the possibility of mosquitoes laying eggs in your birdbath, as a mosquitoes eggs hatch in about four days after being laid.
A fresh water supply is another way to encourage and enjoy the many species of birds in your backyard and adding the sound of moving water will also add to the relaxing atmosphere in the backyard and attract the birds.