Keeping your Birdbath Clean
Why You Should Maintain your Birdbath
Maintaining a clean birdbath is essential for the health of visiting birds. Birds that bathe in the water may leave behind dirty feathers and droppings, which can make the birdbath increasingly unsanitary and filthy for other visiting birds. Dirty and stationary water also attracts mosquitoes, which can carry the West Nile virus and transmit it through their eggs, which they lay in the bath. Changing the water every day or two can help prevent the spread of diseases as well as algal growth, which forms a lot more quickly when the water is not changed frequently.
How to Maintain your Birdbath
There are many ways to ensure that your birdbath is set up correctly for the birds. Placing the bath in the shade can help keep the water cool and fresh, especially in the summer. Having the bath near feeders or woody brush and branches can provide a place for the birds to preen, however keep in mind that the birdbath should not be directly under these as the debris would get into the water.
Likewise, having some running water can make the birdbath more attractive and help prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in the water. This will minimize the chance of disease spreading to the birds and other animals.
You should ideally be changing the water in your birdbath every couple of days, and cleaning it 2 or 3 times a week, or when you begin to see some discolouration in the water.
The first step in the cleaning process is to empty the bath of old water, and to remove any debris that may have fallen into the bath. Next, using a high-pressure hose, or just a normal hose, spray the bath until most of the dirt is removed. If there is any additional dirt left on the bottom, then a stiff brush or wire wool with a cleaning solution can be used to scrub the rest of the dirt and algae off the bottom. However, instead of using bleach to clean the birdbath, consider making a solution of one part distilled white vinegar to nine parts water. If the birdbath is especially dirty, then soak the bath with the vinegar solution for a couple of minutes, making sure the bath itself is covered so that no birds attempt to drink from it during the cleaning process.
For best practices, it is best to remember to keep the birdbath full, keep it out of the way of falling debris, keep it in the shade, and to remove old stagnant water and replace with fresh and clean water. These methods will help you be a good host to backyard birds, as well as help prevent diseases from spreading, so you can enjoy bird watching all summer long!