Birds, like us, require water for drinking and bathing, and a well-designed bird bath gives them a place to do both. A bird bath is an outdoor water feature that fulfills these two vital needs for birds. To provide birds with a secure and comfortable location to groom and hydrate, bird baths should be routinely supplied with water and cleaned.
According to National Audubon Society Senior Director of Bird-Friendly Communities John Rowden, “A bird bath has to be cleaned on a regular basis. Every few days, the water should be changed, but if a lot of birds are coming to visit and the bath is obviously unclean, you might need to clean it more often.”
It goes without saying that your bird bath occasionally has to be scrubbed; here’s how to do it correctly.
Why Cleaning a Bird Bath Is Necessary
Even birds don’t like to drink contaminated water since it tastes bad, but clean water is more vital than simply that. In addition to infecting people and other animals, dirty water may spread several diseases to flocks of backyard birds and boost gnat, mosquito, and other bug populations.
Algae and filth buildup can stain a bird bath so severely that it can never be restored to its former beauty, and dirty water might have aromas that may draw other bugs. On the other side, clean water is more appealing to birds, is safer for all species, and will attract a variety of birds to your yard.
Easy Ways to Clean a Concrete or Other Type of Bird Bath
The techniques outlined below apply to both concrete and the majority of common bird bath designs. Removing the water from a concrete bird bath is the first step before cleaning it. Then, you may decide if you want to clean it using straightforward, all-natural ways or if you want to use something more potent for a deeper clean.
To choose the ideal course for you, evaluate the location. Depending on how unclean the area has become, if there are stains that need to be removed, and whatever method you feel most comfortable utilizing, choose a cleaning procedure. Water, vinegar, and baking soda are the safest methods.
When, and How Often, to Clean a Bird Bath
Bird baths need to be cleaned frequently to keep them safe for and appealing to the birds you hope will stop by for a splash. Cleaning a bird bath is a simple task that doesn’t require specialised tools or cleaning solutions.
Every two to four days, bird bath water should be changed; before adding clean water, remove any remaining filthy water and wash the basin with a towel. After wiping, if the basin is still unclean, it has to be cleaned.
Rowden advises keeping an eye on the bath to make sure the water is clear and not becoming filthy. He claims that the eyeball test is ultimately the most accurate way to determine whether or not a bird bath needs to be cleaned.
“You should pay special attention to whether the bath requires cleaning if there is exceptionally considerable usage or if it is a season where items like leaves and blooms could accumulate.”
Cleaning a Bird Bath With Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide may also be used to clean your bird bath. Use water and hydrogen peroxide in a 1:1 ratio. Once the mixture is prepared, proceed with the vinegar process as directed, using the appropriate scrubbing methods, and being sure to thoroughly rinse everything.
In addition to washing and rinsing, you may let the peroxide mixture rest in the bird bath to remove stains.
Making the choice of whether to store or leave out your bird bath over the winter can be challenging. The water will simply freeze in cold weather, rendering it useless for the birds to drink from. The birds require the water to bathe in the winter, though, as other freshwater sources might also be frozen.
You might believe that cleaning the bird bath only has to be done in the winter, when the weather is mild enough to prevent the water from freezing, but even then, filth can still collect in the bird baths.
One alternative is to utilize a device that will keep the water from freezing over, so that it may be used and cleaned frequently. A excellent method to accomplish this is using bird bath warmers. They need little assembly and do not contain any chemicals that are hazardous to birds. They may be put to the bird bath.
How to Clean a Bird Bath With Vinegar
The National Audubon Society advises carefully cleaning a bird bath with distilled white vinegar. This is a quick, secure solution that won’t endanger any animals, even birds. The suggested ratio of distilled white vinegar to water is 9:1.
However, according to some birding groups, cleaning a bird bath with vinegar works best when using a 1:1 ratio of water to distilled white vinegar. One such organization is Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre.
What to Avoid When Cleaning a Bird Bath
Bird baths are a crucial component of your home’s outdoor ecology, so you should take precautions to maintain them secure for both your feathered companions and their surroundings. It only takes a hard scrub brush, water, or a mild vinegar solution to clean a bird bath of debris, algae, and other impurities.
Avoid using any other cleaners, advises Rowden. They are unnecessary and dangerous to birds’ feathers. In addition, using only water or vinegar to clean a bird bath is healthier for the wellbeing of your yard, garden, or forests since any attempts to increase the health of the soil will be harmed by runoff from the cleaning procedure.
Using Bleach to Clean a Bird Bath
Since bleach may remove dirt and stains, some people do use it to clean their bird baths. If you decide this is the approach you want to take, be sure to completely rinse out all of the leftovers from the bird bath until the majority of the scent has vanished before adding fresh water for the birds to enjoy.
Is Putting Bleach in a Bird Bath Safe?
What about a bird bath? You may use bleach in washing without risk. The National Audubon Society claims that alternatives like distilled white vinegar will work just as well as bleach for cleaning bird baths. It takes many rinses to completely remove all chemical residue, and you can still accidentally leave bleach behind.
Additionally, after cleaning their bird baths with bleach, several folks claim to have discovered one or two deceased birds. When they can clean a bird bath with distilled white vinegar without endangering or maybe killing birds and other wildlife, most people feel it isn’t worth the risk. Any of the aforementioned techniques are excellent substitutes for using bleach to clean a bird bath.
How to Clean a Bird Bath with Bleach
If your bird bath is built of something other than concrete and you want to use bleach to clean it, check sure bleach won’t harm the material. Bleach should never be used on ceramic surfaces.
Tips for Maintaining a Bird Bath
There are certain things you can do to keep a bird bath cleaner for longer even if it does need periodic cleaning. The bird bath may be kept as appealing as possible by using the following suggestions.
Choose a shaded area rather than one in full sunlight for the bird bath since direct sunlight will cause water to evaporate fast and leave a tiny pool of stagnant water, which will promote bacterial and fungal development.
Never “top up” a bird bath; always get rid of used, unclean water before adding fresh water.
Keep bird feeders away from the bath. If your outside area permits it, situate the bird bath where it won’t gather any fallen leaves, needles, or other vegetation in the basin.
Put a dime in the bird bath to help prevent algae growth and maintain the water’s cleanliness. Look for a penny that was produced in 1982 or earlier, as coins issued after that year are predominantly made of zinc rather than copper.
To assist in reducing algae development, add an enzyme safe for wildlife to the water.