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Bird Bath Bliss

By Cheryl Conley, TWRC Wildlife Center

The heat is on! Just like us, birds enjoy and need a clean drink of water and a cooling bath. You can do birds a great service by providing a birdbath where they can drink, bathe and preen. Here is some helpful information regarding birdbaths.

  • Birds aren’t going to swim in it so it doesn’t have to be deep. They only partially submerge their bodies so the optimal depth is from 1 to 3 inches.
  • The bottom of your birdbath should not be slippery. If it is, you can add small rocks to the bottom.
  • Birds are attracted by moving water so if you want to attract a larger number of birds, you should consider purchasing one with that feature. If you already have a birdbath, you can purchase a piece to attach to it. There are also misters available for purchase.
  • Your birdbath need not be fancy. Trust me, birds don’t care. The color, shape and style is of little importance
  • A dirty birdbath is hazardous to birds.  Stagnant water can harbor unhealthy concentrations of bacteria that cause diseases. Stagnant water can also attract mosquitoes that may carry diseases dangerous to both humans and birds. There are numerous soaps and cleansers on the market but the best solution to keeping your birdbath clean is to mix nine parts water to one part vinegar. Chemicals found in commercial cleaners can strip birds of essential oils in their feathers. Scrub your birdbath with the solution and a brush and rinse, rinse, rinse. Be sure to refill the birdbath every couple of days. There are self-cleaning, self-filling units on the market, too, although you can expect to pay considerably more for those.
  • In our part of the country, it doesn’t get extremely cold in the winter but you can add a heater to the birdbath if you wish. Just search for birdbath heaters on the web.

TWRC Wildlife Center is admitting hundreds of baby birds right now and some are coming to us needlessly. When baby birds are old enough, they will leave the nest before they are able to fly. They will spend several days on the ground until their flight feathers develop.These birds are called fledglings. Before picking up the fledgling, wait and observe. In most cases you’ll see Mom watching over them and feeding them. If you don’t see Mom after a period of time, it’s okay to rescue the bird and bring it to us for care. Do not attempt to feed it or give it water! Keep in safe and warm in a box and get it to us as quickly as possible. If you have any questions, you can call us at 713.468.8972. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 10am to 7pm. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 2pm.