Watching wildlife enjoy the garden as much as you do is a wonderful thing, and providing plants for birds, plus supplementary food and water is an easy way to encourage feathered visitors. A bird bath is one of the best ways to attract birds to your garden.
While many of us put out bird food in bird feeders, bird tables and bird boxes, many of us forget to provide water. Birds need bird baths to drink from but also to bathe in – essential to keep their feathers clean and for preening. Water is especially important in winter and summer, when natural sources may be frozen or dried up.
If you want to encourage more wildlife into your garden, take a look at our guides to helping hedgehogs and building a hedgehog house. And to get a closer look, consider check out our recommended bird watching kits for kids and wildlife cameras.
Where to put a bird bath
Birds are at their most vulnerable to predators when bathing, so they are less at risk from attack if you situate the bird bath at least two metres from cover, such as a hedge, tree or shrub. This means they will spot the bird bath easily, but can dart for cover easily if needed. If cats visit your garden, choose a bird bath that is raised high off the ground.
Place your birdbath out of direct sunlight so that the water doesn't become to warm or uncomfortable. Putting a bird bath in a shady spot will reduce evaporation, and slows the growth of algae.
What kind of bird bath is best for birds?
A good bird bath is sturdy and easy to clean and refill. Ideally it should have shallow sloping sides, to give a shallow approach to the water. Ideally, the water should be from 2.5cm to 10cm deep, with shallower areas for smaller birds and fledglings and deeper areas for larger birds. Rough, not smooth, sides will also mean that birds won't slip and can grip on with their claws. If your bird bath doesn't have sloping sides or is deep, add some large pebbles at the base for birds to perch on.
How to clean a bird bath
Ideally, a bird bath should be rinsed out daily and cleaned thoroughly every week to avoid a build-up of bird droppings, dead leaves and algae. Wear gloves and use a non-toxic household disinfectant, making sure you rinse thoroughly.
How to stop water freezing in a bird bath
To prevent water in a bird bath freezing in winter, add a small ball to the water. It will jog about in the breeze, keeping an area ice free. Alternatively, use some hot water from the kettle to defrost an area.
More like this
Types of bird bath
Bird baths can be as decorative as they are functional. Some are designed to sit on an existing piece of garden furniture, some are on pedestals and can be placed as a focal point in a border or lawn, and some can be hung from a hook. Whether you’re looking for something modern, simple or a statement piece you are sure to find the right bird bath for you among our suggestions. We’ve selected 14 of the best bird baths on the market in contemporary and classic designs to help you find the best bird bath for your garden.
14 of the best bird baths
This Gardenesque freestanding bird bath has a weathered, antique finish that would look at home in any garden, whether it is traditional or more contemporary. Nestle it within a border, or stand it on a patio or lawn area as a focal point. This bird bath is made from clay that is sturdy and frost-proof. The dish is detachable and has rough, sloping sides that are easy for birds to grip. It's worth adding a few pebbles at the base to accommodate smaller birds that prefer a shallower depth.
Dimensions: 63cm x 53cm x 63cm. Weight: 26 kg
Gardman Aura Wild Bird Bath
If you're looking for a contemporary bird bath, look no further than the Gardman Aura Wild Bird Bath. Part of the contemporary Aura range of bird accessories from Gardman, it has a beautiful polished bronze-effect bowl and tripod legs. It would add a stunning contemporary touch to your a small or modern garden, or even a balcony. No tools are required for quick and easy assembly - just twist the legs together, and then screw on the top. This bird bath won the ‘Best New Product’ award for the wild bird care category at the garden industry GLEE tradeshow in 2021.
Dimensions: 10.5cm x 38.5cm x 38.5cm
Bonnlo Wild Bird Bath
With its weathered look and fleur-de-lis motifs, this attractive bird bath has an aged patina and an antique look, but is actually made of modern, high density resin. It is both durable and weather proof. The hollow stand can be filled with sand, rocks or water to make it more heavy and sturdy – useful if your garden is prone to winds. Three stakes are included that can be sunk into the ground to hold the base steady, too. It is easy to assemble and clean. It's worth adding a few pebbles at the base to accommodate smaller birds.
Dimensions: 71cm x 50cm x 38cm. Depth of bath: 6cm.
Rainbow Flight Bowl
This rainbow sandstone bird bath is a warmly coloured and decorative way to invite birds into your outdoor space. Rainbow sandstone has natural striations that differ in shade, design and colour. This bird bath is carved from a single block of sandstone – a unique centerpiece that’s seamless and smooth. The bowl is relatively lightweight and can therefore be moved easily around.
Dimensions: H10cm x W42cm x L42cm
Stake bird bath
A stake bird bath is easy to sink into a border and easy to move around if necesssary. This bath from Crocus has a bird perch over a cast aluminium bowl, which can be filled with water or food and removed for easy cleaning. Available in a range of colours including white, pale green and grey.
Dimensions: Height 100cm, width 23cm
Modern Bird Bath
The contemporary Bird Bath from Green & Blue is a beautiful and modern bird bath, handmade to order. It is designed and handmade in Cornwall and is made from cast concrete using up to 75% recycled material from the Cornish china clay industry. Buy the bird bath top dish on its own and place safely in your garden or buy as many base rings as you like to create the perfect height for your space.
Dimensions: The top dish is 9.5cm x 40cm. The rings are 21cm x 40cm.
- Buy a Modern Bird Bath from Green & Blue (from £175)
Zinc leaf bird bath
This antique-style leaf bird bath is made from cast aluminium with an attractive chalky zinc patina to resemble aged lead. An attractive feature in its own right, sit it on a table, wall or step. It can also be filled with bird food.
Dimensions: 32cm x 30cm x 6cm
Simple bird bath
The bold, simple design of this bird bath would look great in a contemporary garden. It is handmade by skilled British craftsmen using local reconstituted stone and traditional methods.
- Buy a Simple Bird Bath from Primrose (£189.99)
Hanging Bird Bath
A hanging bird bath can be hung from the branch of a tree, a garden arch or pergola, or from a hook. Made from frost-resistant glazed ceramic and supplied with hanging chains, this bird bath has a special shallow end for smaller birds and fledglings. Hanging upside down optional!
Nature Oasis Bird Bath & Drinker
This classic bird bath looks like stone but is in fact 100% recycled and made from a frost-proof material called Polyboo. Plastic and natural bamboo fibres form the material that’s said to be both weighty and robust but also allow flex for coping with changing temperatures.
Designed to be a safe depth for small birds to bathe in, the shallow steps around the edge of this bird bath should also allow pollinators to access the water. Patterned outer edges add to the natural stone look. This is a budget-friendly bird bath for the sustainably minded. Place it on the ground if you garden is free of visiting cats, or stand on a table or bench.
Echoes Terracotta Bird Bath with 3 Glazed Feet
A quote from English Poet, William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence is inscribed on the rim of this mottled green terracotta bird bath: “To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour”.
Made from frost-resistant glazed terracotta, this bird bath comes with three glazed mounting feet to keep it raised off the ground and protected from cold damage.
Surfside Bird Bath in Stone
This bird bath brings together rustic ceramic with the bright blues and whites of a traditional blue and white pattern. The textured edges contrasted with the smooth colourful centre gives it both an antique and chic feel.
The bowl offers a wide surface area for birds to drink and bathe in. A small bird statuette is a playful touch.
Dimensions: 34cm x 34cm
Natural Basin Bird Bath
If you’re looking for a sculptural bird bath, this natural-style basin made from granite gives the understated feel of one that’s been made by nature itself.
The bowl is carved into the rock which has a naturally dark shade and is robust in construction. It also sits low to the ground unlike many bird baths, which adds to its natural style. 45cm in length, this is one would slip seamlessly into a garden and give centre stage to the birds that visit it.
Dimensions: 45cm x 45cm x 19cm
RSPB Bronze effect bird bath
Lightweight and weatherproof resin forms the stem and 7cm-wide bowl of this bronze finished bird bath. It’s a modern, easy-to-clean version of traditional metal designs without the risk of rust.
You secure this bird bath with ground pegs that are provided but for extra stability, and it’s recommended that you fill its base with sand. Assembly is simple and achievable without tools, so if you’re looking for a simple and stylish bird bath that’s minimal fuss to install, this could be one to consider.
Dimensions: Height 71 cm, diameter 51.5 cm.
Black Friday offer- Save over 50% when you subscribe
Special subscription offer:
- Save 51%- £34.99 every 13 issues by Direct Debit
- The perfect Christmas gift for friends, family or to keep for yourself!
- Never miss an issue of your favourite magazine
- Free UK delivery- direct to your door *Available to UK residents only