How to Attract Birds to Your Bird Bath? – 8 Tips


Written by

Clinton Atkins



George Dukes

how to attract birds to your bird bath

Imagine this: you’re sitting out on your porch with a cup of coffee or tea, looking out at your garden. You see your beautiful bird bath full of sparkling water – but birds not coming to new bird bath!

Luckily, the question of how to attract birds to your bird bath is simple. For starters, you must ensure the fixture is clean, the water is moving, and that you position your bird bath in the correct spot in your garden.

If you really want to be sure they come, read on for eight bird bath tips!

8 Ways to Attract Birds to Your Bird Bath

What to prepare

Here are a few things to prepare to upgrade your bird bath:

  • The right birdbath
  • Clean water
  • Fountains or water pumps
  • Rocks (optional)
  • Water heater (optional)

To make it easier, you only need to remember three categories when getting birds to use a bird bath: placement, setup, and maintenance.


1. Place your bird bath in the shade.


Should a bird bath be in the sun or shade? The answer is in the shade!

This helps your water stay cooler and fresher while minimizing the risk of algae growth. It also prevents the water from evaporating too quickly.

Additionally, place your birth bath near trees and shrubbery to help your birds feel safe and less exposed. But be careful not to put them too near (or under 10 to 15 feet apart), or predators can sneak up on your birds!

Lastly, avoid placing your bird bath close to bird feeders and nest boxes. If you do, your bird bath will soon be full of seeds, feathers, and poop.

2. Choosing the Right Bird Bath Height

You can get birds to use a bird bath by making it feel as close to what is natural as possible.

Where do birds get water in nature? In rivers, ponds, and puddles. This means that most birds prefer birdbaths low to the ground.

However, some species, particularly smaller ones, prefer slightly taller baths that give them a better view of their surroundings.

If you are able to, why not set up two baths?

3. Choose the right color for bird bath.


Generally, birds are attracted to bright colors. But don’t worry. You don’t need a hot pink bird bath in the middle of your yard – you can simply put brightly-colored rocks in your fountain.

You can also choose bird baths made of shiny materials such as copper, which will glint in the sun and catch birds’ eyes.

Interestingly, experts have noted that birds are frightened by red and white, which symbolize danger for them.

Having a bird bath that is not red or white may increase your chances of attracting visitors!


4. Keep the water level shallow.

Can you imagine taking a shower with the water level up to your waist? Yeah, birds struggle to bathe that way, too!

One way of attracting birds to bird baths is by keeping the water shallow – about 1-2 inches deep. If your bird bath is deeper than that, you can add flat rocks at the bottom to give birds stable perching spots.

You can also line the bottom of your bird bath with pea gravel. This will make the surface less slippery and feel more natural to your avian guests.

5. Have moving water.


Moving water serves two functions: it prevents your water from becoming stale and stagnant and serves as a call to birds’ eyes and ears.

Why? Because bubbling water sparkling in the sun is more likely to catch a bird’s attention, and the sound of flowing water is also a natural temptation for them.

You can install various simple things to your bird bath for this, including a bird bath fountain, water pumps, or water wigglers.

6. Keep your water heated.

Especially in a cold region, it’s essential to consider your birds’ water needs in the winter.

Install a heater to ensure the water in your birdbath doesn’t freeze over and your bird visitors still have water to drink and a warm place to bathe.

You should never put antifreeze or glycerin in the water to prevent freezing, though! These can seriously harm birds.


7. Keep your bird bath clean.


It’s recommended to drain and clean your bird bath once a week to eliminate algae and bacteria growth. However, it’s even better if you can clean more frequently than that, about every two days!

Instead of using chemical cleaners, consider using a solution of nine parts water and one part vinegar to ensure your birds stay safe.

8. Make your garden a bird paradise.

Birds not using bird bath? Consider upgrading your entire garden. Plant flowers and trees that naturally attract birds, and install feeders and nest boxes.

Soon, your yard will be full of the cheerful twittering of birds!

Frequently Asked Questions


Where should I place a bird bath?

It’s best to place your bird bath in the shade, near but not directly beside trees and shrubbery. You should also avoid putting it too close to feeders and nest boxes, and avoid windows as well, since birds can’t tell they’re barriers due to all the reflections.

If your house has kids and pets, put the birdbath somewhere they cannot access.

List of birds that use birdbaths

The specific bird in a bird bath in your garden naturally depends on where you live and the species that live close by. But generally, here are the birds that use birdbaths:

  • Bluebirds
  • Thrushes
  • Tanagers
  • Warblers
  • Kinglets
  • Vireos
  • Wrens
  • Hummingbirds

Why aren’t birds using my bird bath?

If your birdbath placement, setup, and maintenance are perfect, yet birds are still not using your birdbath, it may be for other reasons.

You may live near a natural water source, such as a pond, which birds find more attractive.

Birds also tend to rely on bird baths less during wetter, rainy months. You’ll have more chances of spotting them in the hot summer!

How long does it take for birds to come to a new bird bath?


It’s very rare for birds to begin using a newly installed bird bath instantly. Generally, avians start using new bird baths within 2-4 weeks.

What time of day do birds use bird baths?         

Once your bird bath has developed a reputation as a go-to place, you can expect birds to come to bathe anytime, any day.

However, as you observe your visitors, you may notice each species’ preference. A group of warblers, for instance, were spotted by a New Jersey homeowner regularly bathing every day at dusk!

What are the benefits of having many birds visiting my yard?

Birds aren’t freeloaders: they help you just as much as you help them. When birds visit your yard, they eat your insects, the seeds of your weeds, and may even pollinate some of your flowers!

Additionally, studies have shown that houses with an “active bird life” have higher values in the property market.


Having birds in your yard is excellent not only because they are cheerful and colorful, but also because they offer free garden maintenance.

How to attract birds to your bird bath is a simple enough matter: just put yourself in their little shoes and imagine how you’d like your bath.

You’ll likely find that despite the differences in size and shape, we all like our baths the same way: safe, clean, refreshing, and reliable.

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