Why Birds Aren't Using Your New Bird Bath March 10 2019
There are several reasons why birds might be ignoring your new bird bath. After all, fresh water is the best way to attract birds to the garden in the first place.
The most common reason: The water's too deep.
Simple fact- birds can drown and deep water is unknown, scary and dangerous. Just one to two inches is sufficient for them to bathe, splash and preen safely. In nature you'll see them bathing at a puddles' edge. They'll hop or move to deeper water towards center only as they're able to judge depth.
Shallow is always best, even if the birdbath is deeper, do not fill it to the top. Adding a large rock in the center helps, be sure it rises above water level. River rocks or stones also help little birdie feet with safe footing.
Another culprit? The water's dirty.
Offering a place for birds to drink and bathe is by far the easiest way to entice them to your yard. But as with feeders- one must take responsibility to maintain and keep them clean. Dirty feeders and/or birdbaths are harmful as disease can be spread quickly among local bird populations visiting the feeders or baths. Would you take a bath in dirty water?
Fancy cleaners abound on the market, but good old elbow grease and a 10% bleach solution always does the trick. Be sure to rinse well, be it a feeder, birdhouse or birdbath. Sorry, but no picture of dirty bath water here- it's really gross!
Not as obvious? Another or hidden water source birds prefer.
They may just like your old bird bath better :( Familiarity is a common theme... with both humans and wildlife, it's a natural thing. Try moving the familiar bird bath, or adding a dripper or leaf mister to pique their curiosity.
A friend purchased one of the copper deck mount birdbaths last year. She would periodically complain that no birds were using the new bath and we just weren't really understanding why?
Because we use the same birdbath at home and it sees daily activity, it didn't make any sense! Her habitat is lovely with a wooded yard and lots of open space, her husband even rigged misters for three huge Boston ferns hanging under a pergola. There's a hummingbird feeder and swing... it's perfect habitat for any friendly flier!
A few months later she was telling me about having to replace the gutters, they were clogged and leaking. Lo and behold... the birds were using the clogged gutters for their bathing needs! She noticed them flying to and fro, way up high, preferring the familiar water source over the brand new bird bath offered in plain sight on the deck rail.
Once the gutters were repaired, the birds immediately started using the bath! True story... you can't really make this stuff up :)
So if birds are ignoring your new birdbath- there's usually a pretty good reason and easy fix!