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Sparrow perched around rim of stone bird bath

Wild birds won't use bird bath

Only because you have a fancy new bird bath setup in your garden, its not a guarantee wild birds will indeed make use of it, its really a craft to get them to use it finally.

If birds won't use your bird bath then its time to make changes. First thing to do is setup a new or increase the bird feeding station with hanging bird feeders with seeds, peanuts and more importantly, fat balls. If you can get birds to frequent a garden to feed, in time they will occasional use your new bird bath.

Having splashed out on a brand new bird bath from the shop or online; its not uncommon to see your new found interest in a bird baths soon disappear.

That is when after several days you begin to wonder why wild birds are not bothering to use it, thus any excitement you built up has gone.

But don't despair, its not a common thing to see birds make use of a bird bath right away, and therefore its very normal to see zero interest.

What you now have to do is be incredibly patient, only time will tell if it gets used.

On your part you can cut corners by turning your garden into a bird paradise; so make sure you setup a bird feeding station or bird table if you haven't already.

Where there's food wild birds will soon use it, and when they continue to use it the Tits, Robins, Sparrows and many more species will eventually hop over to the bird bath.

Depending on the time of the year it will be used more for a drink than bathing.

Be sure to keep the bird bath replenished with fresh water - including the bird feeders - as to avoid it drying out, thus avoiding wild birds disappearing again.

Give birds time to find it

Wild birds are more likely to swoop into your garden to feed then to drink or bathe as the need for food is vital to there survival.

Difficulty in setting up a bird bath in the garden is that not all birds use it, which is made harder during the wettest times of the year.

In due course you should expect to receive a varied number of wild birds who are interested in using bird baths.

And it takes time, not a day or two either as it can be weeks or even months before you get a little inkling in your new bird bath.

So in that respect you simply have to be patient and wait it out before losing interest.

Knowing you'll be rewarded in the future and not immediately - as most people believe - its imperative you continue to top up the bird bath with fresh water.

Failing to top up with fresh water or allowing it to dry out will sure not do much to entice wild birds to make use of it as the chance will pass.

Don't rely on a bird bath alone, its important to set up where there's a water source, there's a healthy supply of bird food near by.

No food sources around

Simply setting up a bird bath in the middle of a garden lawn or patio is not enough to bring wildlife to your bird bath.

Sure wild birds are bound to give it a try once in a while but it won't be enough for you, as the bird bath buyer, to really appreciate there arrival as you'll often miss out.

So what you need to do is create a sort of wild bird paradise that will attract birds to your garden, and continue to every singe day.

Its then a matter of creating a designated area in the garden for setting up bird feed.

You can do that with a simple bird feeding station on a pole or go for the more natural wooden bird table, if the garden allows it.

On this bird table or bird feeding station you'd want to continue to replenish it every day with fresh peanuts, suet, fat balls or bird seeds - or wait until its running dry.

If there's a lovely supply of wild bird treats in your garden then in time, they will come if you've experienced trouble attracting them to the bird bath originally.

Where there's a frenzy around the feeding area the birds will gradually move to and from the feeding station to the bird bath where there drink or, and bathe.

Bird bath must be clear to see

It won't matter much if you have a lovely bird bath perfectly set up near to a feeding area or within sight of your living room window, if the birds still can't see it.

Where you may struggle to garner any interest in a newly setup bird bath is if its out of sight.

What that means is the bird bath could be in a part of the garden where birds frequent, but its not an area they venture to, as it runs risks.

On top of that its likely birds will only visit the quietest garden if you have two; so only setup in the unoccupied garden if in a built up, busy housing area.

If for example you setup up a bird bath in your front garden where they would normal visit on a given day - you'd sure find it difficult persuading them to use this part of a risky setup where people pass by or predators linger.

You will want to keep the bird bath to the garden that receives the most visitation, even if its a quick stop.

The bird bath must be open to the elements so it doesn't matter if its in the shade or open to the sunshine.

Its important the bird bath is topped up with fresh water everyday without risking it drying up, which the sun will certainly do.

Lack of fresh water

In the dry, hot late spring to summer months wild birds lack fresh water from nearby streams, puddles to droplets off leaves in trees left over by the rain.

This will therefore increase the likelihood of the Robins, Tits and Sparrows to make use of your bird bath when stopping by to feed.

Its then more important then ever to make sure the bird bath is replenished with fresh water, which is perfectly acceptable to use tap water.

But just because one will have a bird bath setup in the garden that is not to say it will be a priority for that person when it comes to keeping it topped up.

If you're in the early stages of waiting for birds to make use of your bird table, its more important now then ever to make sure its topped up with water at all times.

Allowing a bird bath to dry up in the sun will only make it difficult for you, and therefore the wild birds to start taking interest.

So never allow a bird bath to dry up, especially if its at a time when you're struggling to tempt wild birds to use it.

Every time the bird bath is empty it will only discourage wild birds from using it.

Bird bath is not balanced

Not many people think about this little but vital problem, is that wild birds care about where they perch, so a new bird bath needs an area to land.

Having said that when they do land they will want to feel safe so a poorly positioned, unsteady bird bath can only cause them to find a new place to drink or bathe.

Wild birds are incredible agile so will be happy to land on a swaying twig or wind blowing tree - so its only a little niggle.

But the problem with a bird bath is with its size and weight, if a bird bath rocks or moves, to a bird that is seriously scary.

Noise or a dramatic movement of a bird bath is a serious problem for a bird so has consequence - namely they will not stop to use it.

Bird baths are not the natural cover they use in hedgerows or tree's, so a stone or metal bird bath can seriously be a nuisance to birds if it moves.

Its therefore important you anchor a bird bath surely to the ground with use of pegs if on the lawn, or sink it into the ground to level it off into cement.

No perch to land

It could be a hanging, pedestal, ground or even a solar powered bird bath, but wild birds will not use either one of them if they don't allow an area to perch.

Big problem with bird baths - especially with a pedestal bird bath design - is lack of perch.

There's a rim or an edge that the wild birds will often occupy, but its more suited to larger birds - like blackbirds or pigeons - then the small garden birds that love to use them.

Those small garden birds such as the Tits, Sparrows, Robins and Finches need an area that they cling too where a wet flat slippery surface can be a danger.

Filling up a bird bath with a low or deep pan to the outer rim, in a way that will see the water spill out - is indeed what I am talking about.

That is also a common problem when it rains as it replenishes the bird bath to high, so its a struggle for small common garden birds to use it.

Solution to that is simply setting a simple rock in the bird bath as to create an artificial perch that sits out of the water but can be positioned around or in the centre of the bath.

Its also possible you can scatter a number of rocks as to create a decorative bird bath.

Problem with the location

Now let's take a gander at what else could be forcing wild birds not to use your bird bath, and while the problem is obvious, there's not always an easy solution.

  • Water plentiful nearby: applies more to wet months but if its raining often the birds are more likely to make use of puddles or rain drops on leaves
  • Larger birds keeping visitors away: such as blackbirds, pigeons or crows will deter smaller birds if those types of birds frequent the bird bath or feeding area
  • Predators can be a problem: neighbours cats or your own that spends time in the garden is one issue you cannot ignore, and hard to fix as a matter of fact
  • Too busy garden: a quiet garden is the environment a wild bird will want to visit, so if its busy with you, the kids or pets, then they will stay away in this time
  • Flight path obstruction: wild birds are perfectly capable of dealing with objects in the way, but for example a blowing washing line will scare them away

If you find you're not dealing with any of these issues but your bird bath continues to not receive visits from birds, continue to be patient while replenishing bird feeders.

In time the wild birds will scrap over the peanuts, fat balls and, or seed feeders before making the occasional, but not frequent - visit to the bird bath.


If wild birds are not frequenting your garden already you're sure going to have a task on your hand to encourage birds to use a bird bath alone.

So what you'll need to do is build up a wild bird paradise in your garden with a mix of hanging bird feeders or a bird table.

Only then can you expect to receive a number of wild birds that are willing to drop by.

Not necessarily to drink or bathe in your garden bath mind you; first they will make use of the bird feeders as its only later the bird bath will be used, on occasions.

Its a hard job for some as they have no luck with birds using there new bird bath, but all that's needed is time and patience by you.

If there is a food source in your garden which is frequented without fail everyday, then you should be one of the lucky ones who have a bird bath being used.

In this time as you await the use of the bird bath the only thing you can do is keep it topped up with fresh water, while avoiding it drying out at any time.

Rain will help you out there but where there's rain there's natural area's to drink or bathe, but what there isn't is lovely peanuts, fat balls or seeds you've left out in the garden.

In setting up your bird bath make sure make sure it can be found and is secured to the ground as to prevent rocking, birds won't land on a giant rocking object.

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