As essential as food and shelter, a source of fresh water can draw birds to the garden all year round. In its simplest form, a bird bath is a dish of water in which birds can quench their thirst and clean the dirt off their feathers.
For a bird, the ideal bath has gently sloping sides and ample capacity for several birds to bathe at once. In addition, the bath’s surface should provide enough traction for the bird to grasp. Shiny surfaces may look pretty, but birds will find them too slippery to be inviting. Another practical consideration when selecting a bath is that it should be sturdy yet also light enough to ensure easy cleaning and refilling.
Because birds will only visit a bath if they feel secure from predators, it is important to place it in an area that has clear visibility as well as a nearby tree for perching and preening once the splashing concludes. In addition to finding the right site for a bath, birdwatchers will need to keep it clean by regularly replacing dirty water and wiping down the bath with a light cleanser to remove bacteria from droppings.