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Pedestal stone cast bird bath with pebbles submerged under water in bowl

Why put stones in bird bath

Not only does the use of stones submerged beneath the water line in a bird bath serve to protect birds, but it can compliment an otherwise bland bird bath.

Why you put stones in a bird bath is about wild bird safety; stones offers footing on bare metal or plastic bird bath surface. If birds get into trouble the pebbles below them can be used to stand up. Likewise, use of stones can manipulate the depth of water, thus making it far more shallow with more stones.

Why put stones in a bird bath is only about personal safety to wild birds, a possibility of drowning is real, but with use of stones it can be prevented.

It doesn't need to be done in a way that is untidy in the bird bath; use of stones can really compliment the bird bath - while making it more enticing to passing birds.

So if its a plain plastic or cast iron bird bath in use, or perhaps a working solar fountain bird bath, stones can be added to them all in a pleasing way, by using a matching or mixed stone colour theme.

Point of using small stones or fancier pebbles over the bird bath bowl is to create a way for birds to grip on a surface that is otherwise smooth, yet very slippery.

Not only do stones serve to protect birds this way, but it is possible to make the water more shallower, while making sure the water can never be more than 2 to 3 centimetres deep.

Use as many stones that are needed to make a deep bird bath shallow, so it would then be more pleasing to birds to enter the water.

Create footing for wild birds

Bird baths made with a smooth bowl can be a hazard to bathing or drinking birds. Not at all a problem if using the rim to sip water - but its a different story as they enter the water.

Generally a stone bird bath, be it on a pedestal or a bowl only, tends to offer the grip that is needed with its rough, rugged surface.

However, a bird bath made in plastic or a silky smooth metal alternative, is a problem.

Birds will land on the rim of the bird bath to make up their mind with their next move.

It could be to bend over to sip the water if its within reach, or they just may decide to hop down the slope of the bird bath bowl to enter the water.

Unfortunately, the slope on a bird bath bowl can continue into the middle, thus causing the wild birds a problem if they can't find a flat surface submerged under water to drink, or bathe once in a while.

If the bird bath bowl base was in fact lined with decorative pebbles or thoroughly cleaned stones found in the garden or on walkabouts - the bird bath suddenly becomes far more safer than it was without use of them.

Bird bath can be a hazard

As said, bird baths can be a hazard to wild birds as too deep water can take them by surprise, with a possibility of birds drowning in a bird bath an unfortunate reality.

What you then need to do is use as many stones that are needed to not only line the bottom of the bird bath bowl, but more stones are needed to reduce depth.

You then bring the height of the stones up the bird bath bowl, as to never allow the bath bowl to fill too deep.

If you are using a deep bird bath then be sure to use enough stones for the water depth to be no more than say, 2 to 3 inches at most.

What you are hoping to do is cover up the bare metal or plastic bird bath bowl base to offer that much needed footing, helped with use of any type of stones, or fancier pebbles.

Having said that, the stones should not move as wild birds get their feet trapped, so make sure the helping of stones submerged beneath the water are compacted as much has they can be.

Buy clean or add own stones

Stones for bird baths don't need to be too complicated, simply dig up a tonne under the lawn or dirt patch, to carefully line the bird bath.

Now, in deciding to pick up your own stones for use in the bird bath would all need a clean to remove grit and grime - occasionally washing them again in soapy water until you know they are clean as can be.

On the otherhand, and at a little expense, you can go out to the garden centre or buy online a sack of decorative stones.

Not so much unwashed stones for use in construction, but cleaned or polished stones can be bought to not only offer a practical way to protect wild birds from themselves, but a matching group of stones could compliment your bird bath.

I would advice against polished stones as they tend to not want to stay put when stepped on by birds - so with more rugged, natural stones they don't move so much.

How many stones to add

No hard or fast rules to how many stones are needed in a bird bath, as it depends on the type of bird bath in use, and the size of its water bowl.

Lack of stones in a bird bath can be why birds are not using your bird bath - so there's certainly no harm in adding as many as needed to make it less deep.

Rather than guessing how many stones are needed in the bath, why not look to fill them up to 2 to 3 inches from the rim of the bird bath bow.

That way the water can never over fill as the now stone base has forced the bird bath to always be a shallow one.

In adding as many stones or pebbles that are needed, you can also think about adding a much needed rock to the bird bath for use as an artificial perch.

You'd want to centre or position the single rock only as to be buried in the stones to prevent movement, but allow said rock to protrude out of the water.

Stone shape or size

While its important to add as many stones to the base of the bird bath bowl to make it shallower, along with better footing - that all can depend on stones in use.

Generally speaking, a mix of a stones in all shapes and sizes can be used, but do so if it only compliments the bird bath in use.

It would be better to use stones only in the same size, as they can be compacted in the bowl - thus creating a solid base for birds to walk over.

Up to 2 to 3 centimetres stones or pebbles should do the trick, as its the sort of sizing that is made available to buy.

If you collect your own stones out and about on walks, then collect stones in a near identical size only.

Shape of stones is not important because its not so easy to find them in a similar shape, only focus on stones that are a close size yet are more flat than rounded as the flat stones tend to settle better in water.

To summarise

Why put stones in a bird bath is vital for the health and safety of wild birds as they enter the water to sip water or bathe.

Line the bird bath bowl of any type with a double or triple layer of stones to help with their footer, as they would find it easier to get out of trouble.

However, use as many stones needed to bring the water line only 2 to 3 inches high under any circumstances - so allow birds to enter the water in wetter conditions, as it can never fill to high.

So why do you put stones in a bird bath is to not only offer better footing on the slippery surface of plastic or metal bird bath, but you can manipulate the depth of the bird bath by shallowing it with small stones.

I would advice against use of decorative, polished pebbles while choosing to use more rugged, flat stones that compact in water quite well.

No need to buy stones as those found in your garden, or a more likely scenario with stones brought back home which you found walking the dog is all that's needed.

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