Wild Bird Seed - bird baths
Wild birds have to bathe from time to time to keep themselves clean, free from parasites and their feathers trim and weatherproof, and there are many ways of providing water in the garden for this essential need. They will bathe in any standing water such as puddles, but it is useful to provide them with a custom-made birdbath as well as being fun for you to watch. The simplest bird bath is a large dish such as a saucer or plant tray. A plant saucer with textured finish and a stone in the middle is the easiest. This from ARK Wildlife is one of the nicer ones.
The bath needs to have shallow sloping sides with a shallow approach to the water. To allow different species to bathe, provide a sloping bath, so the water is between 2.5 cm and 10 cm (1-4 inches) deep. Make sure the surface is rough so birds can grip it with their claws and not slip. The vigorous bathing of a flock of starlings can use up a lot of water, so make sure your bird bath is big enough and filled regularly.
You could use an unwanted dustbin lid sunk into the ground or supported on stones or posts. If the lid is shiny or slippery, a thin layer of gravel on the bottom (though this makes it more difficult to clean), and a shallow stone in the middle will help birds get to the water in comfort.
If you are into DIY, concrete bird baths can be made by digging a hole in the soil of the desired size and shape, and lining it with some concrete. Once the concrete has set, it can be removed, trimmed, and placed where you want it.
If you prefer a custom-made bird bath, these are available from the RSPB, many specialist suppliers, and from garden centres, and are made from a range of materials including concrete, resin and stone.
This medieval font makes an ideal bird bath!
This crow made do with a gutter for a drink.
Featured bird bath
This fake cast iron traditional style bird bath is made from durable plastic resin in mottled green to blend in with the garden. Click on the image to read more and buy.
To buy the real thing - a traditional cast iron bird bath click here