Question: I recently installed a birdbath. The birds come in but don’t seem to bathe. A few birds have tried it, but the birds come out of the bath looking terrible. Do you have any idea what is happening?
Answer: Healthy feathers are very important to birds. Not only are the feathers used for flight, but also protection from the weather. One way birds care for their feathers is by using your birdbath. One problem I have found with some commercial birdbaths is they are not designed for the birds. They are more artwork for the people that will be purchasing them. The bath may be too deep or the bottom may be slippery. To fix this problem simply add some pea gravel to the bottom. I’m sure the birds look unkempt and right down scraggly right after a good bath. But, once they leave your bath, the birds will find a secluded, safe place to preen. Preening will clean off the rest of the dirt, any parasites and distribute oils evenly across the feathers. The feathers dry and resume shape quickly. It’s great you are now offering water and you will be rewarded by attracting many new species to your yard.