Q & A Series: Bird Bath Care (with tips for Summer!)
Featured Image: Hollow Springs Boulder Bird Bath


Summer months create unique challenges for bird bath maintenance.

This edition of our Question & Answer blog series is all about bird baths. Specifically, we present tips to ensure the water is not only safe and healthy for local wildlife, but also odor free for your continued enjoyment as the homeowner.

We’re also answering other common bird bath questions about general care and maintenance, which hopefully contain some tips you haven’t previously considered!

How can I keep the bird bath water cool? 

Using a hose to refill bird bath with cool water

Hose water (and frequent ice cubes!) will help keep bird bath water cool and refreshing during summer months. 

Like us, birds want to stay as cool as possible during hot summer months. A bird bath with cool water not only helps birds beat the heat, but it becomes a reliable source of refreshment that may make it a popular gathering place for all kinds of local bird life. 

Placing the bird bath in the shade goes a long way in keeping the water cooler for longer periods of time. 

We know it's easy to fill a pitcher in the kitchen sink and walk outside to refill the bird bath – but there's a better source of naturally colder water: the hose. A few times a day, simply refill the water in your bird bath with a hose (after the water runs cool, of course). 


Pro tip: Add ice cubes to the water (depending on your local climate, this will likely need to occur more frequently than using a hose).

Can I use dish soap to clean a bird bath?

Yes – but make sure the bird bath is thoroughly rinsed out before refilling with water.

Birds will both bathe themselves and defecate in a bird bath, so the water needs to be refreshed often and the bowl scrubbed. Hot water and dish detergent is a good method. When algae is noticeably present, a 10:1 ratio of water to bleach is recommended.


Product suggestion: Fountainful highly recommends the eco-friendly Fountec Algaecide by EasyCare. It’s safe for birds, non-foaming, and made in the USA. 

How do I attract bees and butterflies to the bird bath?

Butterflies visiting a bird bath

Butterflies visiting a bird bath thanks to added elements for them to perch upon. Photo by Orin Zebest (2007).

Summertime brings butterfly migrations and busy bee pollination. If your bird bath is already located near flowers, consider placing a small mound of marbles in the center of the bowl. 

This provides a surface for bees, butterflies, and other insects to stand on and not be covered in water if they come to drink from your bird bath after visiting the flowers. 

I’ve heard about a bird bath “penny trick” – what is it?

Bloggers have reported that copper pennies can help prevent the growth of algae and other microorganisms in bird baths. The theory is that the copper releases small amounts of ions that act as a natural algaecide, maintaining fresh water that’s clean and clear for birds to drink and bathe in. 


➤ Have you tried the penny trick? It’s certainly a cost-effective, eco-friendly, and easy method to implement. Let us know in the comments!

How long does it take birds to discover a new bird bath?

Red bird at Large GFRC Boulder Bird Bath by Blue Thumb

The Large GFRC Boulder Bird Bath by Blue Thumb lets birds drink and bathe on a natural-looking "boulder" made from Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete.

The length of time it may take local bird species to find your new bird bath will vary, but some guidance exists: plan on up to 3 weeks; however, if your garden has previously provided a source of water it could be as quick as a couple days! This is because the birds will already be looking for water in that vicinity.

How deep should bird bath water be?

Rock in bird bath to provide slope for birds

 Branches and rocks can provide perches for smaller birds if your bird bath bowl doesn't naturally slope.

To provide different local bird species with ample space to bathe, consider creating a sloping-style bath so the water varies between 1 and 4 inches in depth. If your bird bath model doesn't naturally slope, simply add a rock or branches.


Pro tip: Live in an area with starlings? The vigorous bathing technique of  this species can use up a lot of water – make sure your bird bath is big enough! Bonus: if you’ve placed your bird bath in a flower bed, the splashing water can benefit the plants around its base.

Add a unique, handmade bird bath to your garden

Woodscape Concrete Bird Bath by Massarellis

 The Woodscape Concrete Bird Bath by Massarelli's Fountains features a beautifully sculpted bird perched on the side of the "tree trunk" pedestal. 

Fountainful proudly offers a diverse selection of Made in USA bird baths.

From the American luxury designs of the Campania Concrete Birding Collection to a volcanic basalt bird bath and even a 120-pound concrete wildlife waterer, you’re sure to discover a beautiful new accent piece for your garden. 


Browse our complete Bird Bath Collection


Questions about Bird Baths? We’re here to help! Contact us

Bird bathsQ&a series

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