Make Your Birdbath Sparkle

Use a water fountain to attract more birds!

Fun Ways to Make Your Birdbath Sparkle

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! Shop today for birdbaths, Water Wigglers, solar fountain pump kits and more.

— Written by Roxanne Brune

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  • Traute Ghiraldini July 17, 2010 at 8:24 am

    I recently purchased a bird bath from you, one that attaches to the patio fence. I make sure the water is clean but so far haven’t seen one
    bird drinking or splashing. This is in a very quiet area, I hear birds all the time. Aside from buying something suggested above, my birdbath is not big enough for it anyway, what are the chances that birds will come
    By the way, I feed them in the wintertime only.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.

  • Melissa July 18, 2010 at 1:03 am

    To the person who recently purchased a birdbath and has not seen any activity….my suggestion is to be patient. Most likely the birds have not yet discovered the bath, but when they do they will be back again and again. Activity will probably be greatest when it hasn’t rained in a while. I also only feed in the wintertime with my nearby feeder. I am always amazed how many birds come to my birdbath to drink in the winter (my birdbath is heated….during the summer, I just unplug it and disconnect the cord). During the winter, my birdbath has also attracted robins, catbirds and mockingbirds, which is great because those birds don’t come to my feeder. During the summer the birds drink AND take frequent baths. Recently I added the “Water Wiggler” (so I don’t get mosquitos), but the birds also seem to be attracted to the moving water. I definitely recommend the “Water Wigger”, however, before that, I placed a rock in the center of the bath so the birds could perch if they wanted. Also be sure to keep your birdbath clean and refresh with new water often. With a little patience, you will surely see some birds in your bath…coming your way soon!

  • jessica April 11, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    Try putting feeders next to it

  • Birder January 2, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    I have a question regarding how to run an electric cord to a bird bath that is in the center of a small yard. I can run it from my garage or my front door, and either spot would be bad since anyone walking up my walkway would trip over it!

    I would prefer something battery operated or even solar powered so that no one trips over the cord, but …

    My question still remains. How does anyone with a bird bath in their yard use anything with an electrical cord plugged into it? The cord is just running across their yard? What am I missing here?

    • Heidi Babb January 4, 2017 at 9:22 am

      Thanks, Birder, for the great question. Dealing with electrical cords running across the lawn can be tricky — it’s always nice when there’s a good snowfall to cover the cords over! We definitely recommend using outdoor rated extension cords, and if you get a long enough cord you may be able to run it around walkways instead of over them. For a long-term, more permanent solution you could run the cord through a PVC pipe that you bury in a shallow trench. I also recommend that you use an outdoor GFCI outlet for safety.

      Electrically heated bird baths and bath heaters are so popular — I hope that some of our readers will take a moment to respond to your question with their own solutions.