Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Birds and water

(60 Posts)
Sunnysideup Tue 09-Aug-22 12:53:12

So….have put a bowl of water out for the birds. I thought in this weather they would like to have a nice cool bath. I’ve been watching diligently for two days and not a single bird has visited! Have I done something wrong?

Fleurpepper Tue 09-Aug-22 13:01:12

Good for you. I have bowls of every size at many different heights and locations- and they are using them all the time.

It takes time for them to get the message- hopefully when they do, they will be very happy to use.

Smileless2012 Tue 09-Aug-22 13:02:24

Maybe if it's out in the open that could be putting them off or perhaps you've not been looking when a bird's used it.

Beechnut Tue 09-Aug-22 13:04:55

Is it shallow. I have a bird bath (pigeon sat on the edge at the moment) and I saw a bird drink from it yesterday then go and land on some very dry dirt and flap his wings about in it.

25Avalon Tue 09-Aug-22 13:05:54

Birds can be very suspicious of new feeders etc. but they should get used to them after a few days.

ExDancer Tue 09-Aug-22 13:10:39

I've noticed my birds seem to have a kind of siesta around the middle of the day, they don't visit the feeders and don't sing much.
However just before dusk they are here in crowds. Have you tried putting a stone in the middle of the birdbath? Sometimes smaller birds will prefer a stone to stand on.
Otherwise, patience and keep it topped up.

AreWeThereYet Tue 09-Aug-22 13:15:26

We have bird baths (plant pot trays) in a number of places and they are used by birds, hedgehogs, cats, squirrels and foxes. One is sitting on a stone bench at the bottom of the garden with bushes behind it and at the side but nothing in front. We often watch whole families of birds having a bath. If we let it dry up we've noticed that it can take a few days before any birds come back after we've refilled it. They take a while to get used to things and decide it is safe. It took two months before any birds used the new bird feeder although lots stood on top of it.

Sago Tue 09-Aug-22 13:47:13

They literally queue up by our pond! If we happen to sitting at that end of the garden thy always seem at bit miffed.
The wood pigeons come first followed by the smaller birds.

Sunnysideup Tue 09-Aug-22 14:16:22

Thank you so much for your replies. I have to confess it’s only an old washing up bowl! Maybe, as you say, they have to get used to it. I’ll keep it topped up and see what happens.

NanTheWiser Tue 09-Aug-22 15:09:54

I agree they often wait until late afternoon or dusk to come for a drink. I have a wide, shallow plant pot balanced on the corner of my raised pond, with a stone in the centre, and I don’t see many birds using it in the daytime.

I’m always pleased when a pair of goldfinches come down for a drink, as I don’t usually see them otherwise. I’ve also had a young fox quench his thirst too!

Rosalyn69 Tue 09-Aug-22 15:12:50

You may just have to wait. They will come. It’s a lovely thing to do. They often bath in the bowl too.

Soroptimum Tue 09-Aug-22 15:23:05

I think a washing up bowl will be far too deep! We use large plant pot holders. These sometimes have to be filled twice a day if the blackbirds decide to have a bath. So we bought a chicken drinker thing just for drinking. We dis try an old washing up bowl, and even with just an inch or so of water it wasn’t used, probably because birds couldn’t see out!
Final point is to keep them scrupulously clean. The wood pigeons delight in pooping in them hmm

DiamondLily Tue 09-Aug-22 15:43:56

I put out a shallow very large pie/stew dish, that I no longer use, and the birds, the squirrels and the foxes have been using it.

To drink and bathe in. I refill it twice a day.

It's parched down South and the wildlife are really suffering. 🙁

Galaxy Tue 09-Aug-22 15:54:36

They will come. There is nothing so lovely as watching birds having a bath. ( Younger me would be shaking my head at this postgrin)

AreWeThereYet Tue 09-Aug-22 15:55:01

I agree DiamondLily - if it's all you have Sunnysideup try burying it up to the rim and fill it most of the way with stones. You could leave one end a bit deeper but give a shallow end so anything can climb out if necessary. If it's on the ground hedgehogs may use it.

Davida1968 Tue 09-Aug-22 16:03:25

Try placing the bowl near to "safety"; this could be a hedge, fencing, bushes, a verdant flower bed, or low hanging trees, etc. This definitely is important with our birdbath.

toscalily Tue 09-Aug-22 16:27:33

I agree, an old washing up bowl is too deep and sinking it into the ground may work, perhaps placing some stones around the edge. We have a bird bath on a pedestal which is used frequently, pigeons really seem to like to lay in the water with their wings outstretched in the hot weather (as well as splashing about). We have to refill it often.

DanniRae Tue 09-Aug-22 16:34:47

I have an old shallow dish full of water for the birds. It amuses me that they not only bath in it but drink it too! I love watching them use it and agree that a washing up bowl is too deep and they wouldn't feel safe using it.

Helen657 Tue 09-Aug-22 16:48:04

We’ve got a shallow water dish in our rear garden next to a border & an old deep “fat balls” plastic tub in the front with 3 house bricks stacked in it to give a central landing area - they’re both really popular.
Funnily enough our birdseed and fatball feeders at the front empty completely within a couple of days with the sparrows noisily clamouring in a queue in the surrounding branches waiting for a space to open up, but the feeders at the back barely get pecked at!! You’d think they’d have learned to flit round the house but they haven’t, lol
And the feeder attached to my kitchen window had a chaffinch land on it first day, but not seen another on it in the 2 months since???

Zoejory Tue 09-Aug-22 16:52:12

We have 4 or 5 hedgehogs and we leave bowls of water out for them. I have hanging water dishes for the birds but they never seem to bother.

However we've caught them drinking and splashing in the hedgehog's dishes

Fleurpepper Tue 09-Aug-22 16:57:57

DanniRae

I have an old shallow dish full of water for the birds. It amuses me that they not only bath in it but drink it too! I love watching them use it and agree that a washing up bowl is too deep and they wouldn't feel safe using it.

If you put out anything deep, place a brick or rock in a corner so anything that falls in can crawl out again!

Callistemon21 Tue 09-Aug-22 17:01:17

Beechnut

Is it shallow. I have a bird bath (pigeon sat on the edge at the moment) and I saw a bird drink from it yesterday then go and land on some very dry dirt and flap his wings about in it.

The pigeons come to drink from the bird bath, then turn around and use it for a toilet, spoiling it for the smaller birds.

RichmondPark1 Tue 09-Aug-22 17:12:48

We have the same thing Zoejory! Bird bath ignored and the birds queueing up at the hedgehog bowls.

Fleurpepper Tue 09-Aug-22 17:20:48

Gorgeous picture RP1-

To all grans and granps out there who are doing their bit to help birds, hedgiehogs and wildlife in these difficult times - thank you. Keep up the good work.

Smudgie Tue 09-Aug-22 17:27:18

I have two small shallow cat trays with a big stone in the middle of each one. One in the front garden, one in the back. We love watching the blackbirds who have a good wash in it and I agree with other posts that birds do take a few days to suss it out and decide it is safe. We also have a lot of huge pigeons which are not our favourite I must admit but they need water too so we are happy to provide it, even though I have to clean the trays every day as they poo in it. !