Bird baths are a playground of bacteria, germs, and viruses lethal to birds. This is a matter I take seriously. The simplest solution to the problem is to make sure that the bird bath is always clean and free of harmful organisms and substances to birds. But how to keep bird baths clean easily? I discovered three methods.
Circulate the Water
Circulating the water is a passive yet effective method of keeping the water in the bird bath clean. Algae is a common telltale that a body of water is dirty. Circulating water is an effective way of discouraging the growth of algae. It also prevents insects, such as mosquitoes, from laying their eggs in the bird bath.
Personally, I prefer a small fountain feature on my bird bath rather than a simple water recirculating pump. A fountain feature achieves the purpose of a recirculating pump. It creates movement in the water. It prevents the uncontrollable formation of algae. Insects can’t use the bird bath as a breeding ground. Birds are more attracted to the bath because of the moving water. And the fountain makes the bath more aesthetically pleasing.
Copper has an antimicrobial surface. It is highly helpful in controlling the presence of bacteria in a bird bath. Even if the bird bath is not made of copper, I find that throwing in a few pennies of pieces of copper helps keep the bird bath clean.
I had a concern about the use of copper, though. Exposure to high quantities of copper is known to induce toxicity problems in humans. I wondered if the same is true of birds. I found no conclusive study about the subject. But based on my experience with using copper in my bird bath, it doesn’t seem to harm the birds. After all, they are not exposed to too much of it.
Although copper is highly effective, it does not completely eliminate bacteria and germs.
Water circulation and the use of copper are passive methods of keeping a bird bath clean. But they are not enough. They will not prevent the bird bath from getting unclean forever. However, there are steps I took that considerably lessened the need to clean the bird bath often.
Emptying the bird bath before refilling its water
It’s so easy to be lazy about this. When I notice that the water in my bird bath gets too shallow, I sometimes find it too inconvenient to empty it first before refilling it. But emptying it first ensures that no droppings, feathers, seeds, or other unwanted things are present in the new water.
Hosing and wiping down the bird bath when changing the water
Another aggressive method to ensure that I don’t have to clean my bird bath every other day is hosing and wiping it down. Although copper and the circulation of water helps prevent algae growth, they are not 100% effective. Hosing and wiping down the bird bath when I change its water gets rid of algae survivors.
Leaves, feathers, seeds, and seed hulls are common bird bath dirtying factors. I limit the presence of these things by placing the bird bath quite far from the feeders and trees.
Occasional bleach treatment goes a long way
The bleach treatment is a super powerful way to clean a bird bath. And if done right, it won’t hurt the birds and will keep the bath clean for many days. Remove the water in the bath. Replace it with clean water. Pour no more than 1 ½ cups of chlorine bleach and cover the bath with a trash bag for 15 minutes. The black trash bag helps absorb more heat from the sun, cleaning the bath quicker.
Rinse the basin thoroughly and let it sun dry. Refill the bird bath – it is fully cleaned.
Why I Want a Clean Bird Bath
An unclean and unmaintained bird bath invites diseases and death for the birds that use it. The inevitable bird droppings, feathers, seeds, dust, and other dirt from birds found in a bird bath can be a source of a disease. Not only are the potential diseases dangerous to birds, they can also harm humans.
Bird droppings alone can carry over 60 diseases, Medical News Today reports. These data shows the importance of maintaining cleanliness when it comes to birds and anything that comes in contact with them.
Aside from the potential health issues, I want my bird bath clean so birds will never be turned off by it. I want to provide fresh and clean water for my avian visitors. Clean water helps them keep their feathers in good condition when preening. It also helps them remain hydrated.
With those concerns in mind, here are three methods which help maintain a clean bird bath.
Maintaining the beauty and cleanliness of our environment takes work. The same is true regarding bird baths. But with just a few researched-based techniques, keeping the bird bath clean is easier. How to keep bird baths clean easily? I find that water circulation, usage of copper, and regular maintenance do the trick.