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Sparrow taking a bath

Water For Your Birds

Why is it Important

Providing water for birds is often forgotten about but is vital for their survival just like us humans. 


All birds need water to survive.  How much of it depends a lot on their diet, insect eating birds will need less water than ones that have a dry diet of seeds. 
Bathing Bluetit


To keep their feathers in tip top condition birds need to regularly clean them.  Shallow water is a great way of washing out any grit or lice before preening them.

How to provide water for them

Bird baths

These come in various variety’s and designs but all have the same result, to provide some shallow water for the birds.  Prices vary but this is more for your taste and style not what is more effective for the birds

Bird Bath

Shallow Dish or Container

The birds are more than happy to use a shallow dish or container to drink and wash in.  For example a plant pot saucer or shallow bowl are ideal.

Shallow Dish
Different birds like different depths of water and most bird baths will have a shallow gradually deepening basin for this reason. The baths will also have rough edges for the birds to dig their claws in so not to fall into the deeper water.  If you are providing a shallow dish or container try and find something of a similar design or tilt the dish to give the same effect.  If your container / dish has smooth sides consider placing clean gravel in it to give the smaller birds something to grip onto
You must remember to keep it clean and change the water regularly to avoid disease.
An important point to remember when putting water out for your birds is to not make it too deep so that, like young children, fledglings don’t drown in water too deep.


Bathing Willow TitMake sure that your water is always clean, as like us, dirty water can be very harmful to the birds, and when changing the water in the bath / container make sure the old water is emptied and wipe out any debris which may be in there. A good scrub will help keep them clean and we recommend this be done at least once a week.  Use specialist bird bath cleaner as everyday household cleaners contain chemicals harmful to birds.

Where to place the water

Bathing House SparrowChoose a shady spot to minimize evaporation and avoid algae growth Keep clear from your feeders so the spilt food won’t fall into the water
Try to place baths away from falling leaves and other debris which can fall in the water

When to put water out.

It is important to give water to the birds all year round but especially in summer when the weather is dry as natural resources are not available and also in winter time when the natural resources maybe frozen. To keep your bird bath / container from freezing over place a clean stone, small ball or something that floats in the water giving the birds access. 

To find out information about the types of food there are please visit our feed the birds page

To find out which types of feeders there are and where to place them please visit our Types of Feeders Page

Click here to download our Feed the birds guide to find out which birds like what food and how they like to eat them.

SongBird Survival is a charity commissioning research into the decline of Britain’s songbirds. With your support and membership we hope to reverse their decline. 
Click here to find out more……
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