american robin - water is for the birds

Water IS For The Birds!

Water is for the birds!  Why?  Because just like humans they need water to be able to survive.  You see birds need fresh, clean water for drinking purposes.  They do get moisture from the food that they eat but then they also lose water from their system through their droppings and through respiration (i.e. breathing).  Water keeps their body functioning.

Birds also need water for bathing purposes in order to maintain healthy feathers.  Bathing helps remove dirt, dust, and parasites that may carry diseases that are harmful to them.  Healthy feathers are vital for flight and also help to insulate birds from water and colder temperatures.


american robin - what is for the birds



How Do Birds Get Water?

Naturally birds can obtain water from flower petals, plants, buds, dew on grass, and from fruit and insects that are in their diet.  Seeds provide some water but not as much.  Birds can also get water from puddles, ponds, and lakes.

You can also provide your own source of water for the birds in your backyard by putting out bird baths, fountains, water drippers, shallow dishes, and misters.  These are all great ways to attract a variety of birds to your yard too.  Not only will you attract the usual birds that come in to your feeders like cardinals, blue jays, wrens, and woodpeckers, but you can also get those birds that do not.  By this I mean birds like tanagers, flycatchers, and warblers, that eat mostly insects and/or fruit and won’t usually visit at your feeders.  There is a good chance that these birds will stop by to get some water if you have it out for them.


Water Sources

As I mentioned above you can put out birdbaths, fountains, water drippers, shallow dishes, and misters to help the birds.  Here are a few examples of these:


pedestal birdbath - birds need water too

A pedestal birdbath placed in your garden among foliage or flowers is ideal for the birds.  By placing it around plants and foliage it helps the birds stay safe too.



solar bird bath - water is for the birds


A solar birdbath with water pump keeps the water moving which helps the water stay clean and attracts the birds to it too.  There is no electricity involved so you are not paying for anything extra.




hanging birdbath - water is for the birds


A hanging birdbath is great to hang in your tree which is more secluded for birds and easy access for them too.  It is also more safe from predators such as cats lurking around.




ground birdbath - water is for the birds

Ground bird baths especially with a dripper tube are good for birds that feed on the ground such as towhees, juncos, and thrashers as well as many other birds.  The dripper part attracts the birds to it and keeps the water moving.  It can be placed anywhere but keep in mind where you place it as predators may easily find it too such as squirrels and raccoons.  If you do not mind the extra critters than this will work for you.



two tiered bird fountain - water is for the birds

This solar two-tiered fountain as you can see has constant moving water and can run up to 6 hours a day without electricity.  Birds are attracted to the movement and sound of the water.  Plus it is a nice feature to have in your garden.




pump - water is for the birds


This  free standing bird bath pump is great for birdbaths and small ponds.  It is solar operated and keeps the water moving which attracts the birds to it.  Birds love it!   Moving water keeps mosquitoes at bay too!





dripper - water is for the birds

Drippers are a great addition to any fountain as it also keeps water moving and the birds like to perch on it and take a drink of water.  Always fun to watch the goldfinches at my house doing this.




mister - bird bath mister - water is for the birds

Misters are always a welcome water source for the birds too.  Hummingbirds especially like to zip in and out of the fine water spray and other birds like to perch nearby among the water spray and preen their feathers.  It doesn’t use a lot of water either.  I love my mister because it adds a little more entertainment in my garden.




heated birdbath - water is for the birds

Of course don’t forget about a heated birdbath.  Birds need water all year long even in the winter time.  This birdbath is the best one that I have ever had as it is very sturdy, durable, and keeps the water warm for the birds.  It never freezes unless temperatures go below zero.  This birdbath can be used all year long too.  All you have to do is unplug for the summer months.



birdbath heater - water is for the birds

You can also get a birdbath de-icer that you place inside an already existing birdbath if you do not want to spend the extra money on a built-in heated birdbath.   I personally do not care for them as much as the built-in kind because they do not work as well and are harder to maintain.  However, if temperatures do not get as low as it does here in Kentucky during the winter months (below zero degrees at times), you might find this type to work well for you.




pond kit - water is for the birds

Small ponds are another great water source for the birds.  You can purchase pond kits and make one pretty easily.    Include a small fountain to keep water moving and it is ideal for birds.  Just keep in mind that Great Blue Herons like these ponds too for fishing.  They are more than happy to eat all of your fish if you have them.  My brother had to put a tall decorative heron close to his pond which has helped keep the herons from eating all of his fish.



Final Word

Birds need fresh, clean, water all year round for drinking and for maintaining healthy feathers for their survival.  They can get some water naturally through the food that they eat and also from plant materials and flowers.   You can also help your feathered friends by providing a water source for them to use such as a fountain and any type of birdbath such as pedestal, hanging, or ground bath.

Birdbaths with pumps or drippers are good to have during the summer months because the birds are attracted to the moving water plus the moving water keeps mosquitoes at bay.

female brown-headed cowbird - how to get rid of cowbirdsDon’t forget to have a water supply for the birds in winter too.  You can purchase a heated birdbath or you can buy a heater that you can place in a birdbath that you already have.  I have tried both and found that a built in heater on a birdbath works so much better keeping it from icing up.  The free standing kind that you place in a birdbath just do not work as well when temperatures go below freezing.  They will probably be fine if you are in a warmer area.

Yes, water IS for the birds!


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Happy Birding!






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