What’s nicer than a newly cleaned birdbath, filled with fresh water and sparkling in the sunlight? Well, having the water level just perfect is a personal issue with me, but other than that, the only thing better is having birds land, sip and splash—or is it? What if you could also enjoy a spraying column of glittering dewdrops, a refreshing, misty haze over the bath or the sound of water trickling down dampened rocks? You can! And very inexpensively, too.
Moving water is very attractive to birds. To bring your birdbath to life and get the water moving, glittering and glistening, you can add a recycling fountain, a dripper, a mister, a battery operated agitator or even a solar powered fountain with interchangeble spray heads. Let’s look at how each of them work.
Recycling fountains are highly reliable and recycle the water with an electric pump. You supply the outdoor, grounded extension cord. Various styles are available including mini waterfalls where the water tumbles down several tiers of tiny “rock” landings and “rock” based bubblers where the water bubbles out of the top of the rock and trickles down the sides. They run night and day until you pull the plug!
Drippers create calming, concentric circles of ripples in a birdbath. Drippers consist of a copper dripping tube attached to a weighted “rock” base and connected to your outdoor water spigot by means of long, thin tubing. They continuously supply fresh water to the bath. However, the drip rate is highly adjustable and the amount of water used to create the slow drip is minimal.
Misters work on the same principle as a dripper, but the spray head creates a very fine continuous spray, instead of a drip. Misters make a foggy, refreshing mist over your birdbath. Or you can place a mister among flowers for your hummingbirds, since they love the cool mist!
Battery-operated agitators, such as the Water Wiggler, operate day and night for months on a single D battery. They sit up in the water and small “paddles” below spin to create the water movement, which sparks birds’ curiosity!
Finally, we have solar powered fountains. These work with a movable solar panel which runs the pump when direct sunlight is available. They recycle the existing water and usually have a choice of spray heads which produce a fine or heavier upward spray. They come with small filters, but can sometimes get clogged if there is debris in the bath. Compared to an electric pump, there is slightly more maintenance yet you save on electricity. The choice is completely personal. Solar fountain pump kits are also available to add to your existing birdbath and help you attract birds.
Another thing to consider when deciding on a bubbler, a fountain or a sprayer is that when water is projected upwards, there is evaporation and sometimes overspray, which will cause the water in the bath to need refilling more often—especially with a device that recycles the water rather than constantly supplying new water as in a dripper. But topping up the birdbath a little more often is a small price to pay for the beauty of moving, splashing water.
But whatever you choose, adding a small accessory to your birdbath can greatly enhance its attractiveness to the birds and is lovely to watch!
— Written by Roxanne Brune