Having birds twittering around in your garden or backyard not only adds to the beauty of your home, but it also means that your immediate surroundings are healthy enough to support the lives of these animals. More than that, other animals that are beneficial to the environment – like frogs that eat pests and other harmful insects – may also be more attracted to a place where birds abound.
Contrary to popular belief, bird feeders aren’t the only features that you can add to your home in order to attract birds. In fact, installing an outdoor water fountain has several benefits not just for birds but for your own enjoyment, too.
It Keeps Birds Clean
Birds require bathing, too. Dirty feathers not only make it more difficult for birds to take flight (just consider the weight of all that dirt, oil, and mud), but it also hides their beautiful plumage, both from human eyes and their potential mating partners. Clean feathers are also more flexible, and therefore more aerodynamic. What’s more, grime-free feathers also help keep the skin underneath all that plumage healthy, preventing skin- and feather-related diseases and parasites.
Having a bird fountain in your backyard or garden provides a beautiful focal point, as well as a soothing sound. (The sound of flowing water actually helps attract more birds to the fountain.) It’s also a delight to watch birds wading and bathing in the fountain; in fact, they don’t look like they’re bathing at all, but more like playing and splashing around.
It Keeps Birds Hydrated
Bird feeders do attract birds of all shapes and sizes, but having a bird fountain alongside it will attract more kinds of birds – even those carnivorous ones or those that feed on nectar that would ignore the seeds in the feeder. That’s because bird fountains provide another essential: drinking water.
In their natural habitat, birds can drink from all sorts of sources: ponds, lakes, and rivers, even rainwater collected in small puddles or the cupped leaves of plants. However, in a more urban setting, it may be more difficult for birds to find clean water to drink. A bird fountain makes it easier for your avian friends to keep hydrated.
Make sure to keep the water in your bird fountain clean, as dirty water can actually discourage birds from visiting the fountain, apart from being a source of bacteria that can cause avian diseases. Stagnant, contaminated water is also a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other disease-carrying pests that is dangerous to both humans and birds. Replacing the water in your bird fountain frequently is often enough to keep it clean for a while and prevent the buildup of algae, reducing the need for more meticulous scrubbing.
It Makes Birds Feel Safe
A water fountain can make birds feel safe, especially when you place it strategically in your garden. Ideal locations include spots that are close to an “escape route” like a tree or a plant, where birds can hide if they are frightened or have to escape from a predator (remember: a wet bird cannot fly as fast as a dry one). If you want, there are also bird fountains that can be hung from a tree to make it even more appealing to your feathered friends.
Once birds feel more comfortable and safe in your water fountain, then they will be more inclined to return to it more frequently. They will mark your garden as a safe haven, where they can enjoy a bath, take a drink, and perhaps even enjoy the scenery for a bit, too!
Remember to keep your fountain no deeper than three to four inches to make it attractive to both small- and medium-sized birds. The bottom of your bird bath or fountain should also be textured, rather than smooth, because birds prefer to have stable footing. If you choose to have a slightly deeper bird bath, put some clean, flat stones or other platforms that smaller birds can stand on to make them feel more secure.
Bird fountains are more than just decorative, charming elements in your home; they can also help foster a healthier ecosystem, even if it’s just in a tiny patch of your backyard or garden. The tweeting of birds are also better sounds to wake up to – it’s like having a natural choir encouraging you to face the day positively.