By Karen Bassler
Staff Writer 

My Summer Birdbath Adventure Begins with a Crash


Karen Bassler

This is the start of my summer birdbath adventure ... a shattered pedestal. But this will not deter me. Stay tuned for further adventures!

I've always wanted a birdbath in my yard and I'm not sure why I never took the leap. But as of May 15, I am an official bird bath owner. Woo hoo!

I want to be a responsible birdbath manager so I did a little research and found out that, as with anything, there are some rules to follow when becoming the proprietor of a birdbath.

The first very obvious rule is to keep the bath filled with clean water, otherwise it is just a bowl on a pedestal in your yard. The birds will come to rely it being there for their enjoyment, so there really is a responsibility connected with the commitment.

Location! Location!


Some thought should go into the placement of a birdbath. Of course we want to see the birds that come to our backyard, but we also need to protect our guests.

Because cats and birds of prey like to wait in the shadows, it's best to keep the birdbath no less than five feet from shrubs or other hiding spots, as it will give your bathing friends a chance to see what's coming after them.

Remember that a wet bird can't fly well, so there should be a close, safe spot for birds to flutter to should the need arise.

Make it easy on yourself and place the birdbath within reach of a hose. Once the weather heats up, changing the water daily will get your "air b&b" a five-star rating.

Placing the birdbath in a shady spot will help to reduce algae growth. It is also helpful to place the bath away from feeders, grass clippings and other falling debris. A good hose-squirting when changing the water will also help to keep a beautiful bath.

Keep it Clean

No matter how well the birdbath is placed, regular cleanings will be necessary. And by regular, we're talking two to three times each week, depending on how often and how many birds visit.

Keeping your birdbath clean is essential to attracting return visitors. According to the Backyard Birds newsletter, the easiest way to keep a birdbath clean is to dump any old water before adding more.

Two or three times each week it is recommended to give the basin and pedestal a good cleaning. Wear your rubber gloves to avoid contamination from fecal matter that may be in the old water or on the surface of the bath.

First, dump the old water and remove any large debris.

Using a solution of one part distilled vinegar to nine parts water and an appropriate scrub brush, thoroughly scrub the birdbath. Be sure to scrub the entire inside surface of the basin as well as the rim, sides and underside.

It may be necessary to allow the basin a little soaking time. Cover the basin if you need to walk away so the birds don't drink the vinegar solution.

Next, thoroughly rinse the birdbath with clean running water and allow it to dry.

Now you may refill your birdbath.

Unlike a bird feeder, a birdbath will attract all kinds of birds.

I can't wait to invest in a bird identification book (or to "borrow" one from my mother-in-law) to keep near my favorite lawn chair as a kind of guestbook of my visitors.

I'll let you know how it goes.

First update

My pride of ownership has its consequences. Tuesday morning, I thought it would be a great idea to take some "before and after" photos of my public bath rehab project because I KNOW it's going to be the best bird bath ever and the pictures would be the proof.

All excited to get it set up to take the first set of "before" pics, I opened the hatch of the car and ... CRASH! I guess I didn't have it as secure as I thought I had and the base of the birdbath tumbled out of the car and onto the cement driveway.

I will not take this as a sign that maybe I'm just not ready for birdbath ownership. I will set the basin on a stump or some rocks while I scour the land for another intact pedestal.


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