Written by an area Landscape Architect and birdwatcher with over 30 years of experience with landscaping in north Texas: what works and what doesn't. Emphasis on attracting birds to north Texas yards, and reducing required yard maintenance. Tips, trivia and proven advice for a natural, low-cost approach for this unique and sensitive part of the country.
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Selecting a birdbath that birds will actually like and use
When is a birdbath not really a birdbath?
what’s called a birdbath is really just a “garden ornament” that birds rarely
use, and becomes a maintenance headache. In reality, anybody who can pour concrete can make what's loosely called a "birdbath". Birds, however, may not give it more than glance before going elsewhere. Address these four things when shopping for a true
·Depth. Most birds are
afraid of deep water (they’re terrible swimmers). The water’s depth should be
no more than 2 to 2½ inches unless you're trying to attract ducks.
·Material. It shouldn’t be
so light that it blows over.Some metals
or resins are good. Concrete is best, but make very sure that it’s a “dense”
concrete that doesn’t harbor algae or soak up water The water freezes and expands in winter to cause cracking, and in warm weather cheap concrete provides a place for algae to grow.
·Ease of cleaning. Birds
like clean water. Algae (which grows in many birdbaths) can be eliminated in a
good birdbath with regular scrubbing. Aeration from a bubbler or dripper helps too. Bleach is only called for if the algae
gets a foothold.
·Location. Place it within
3 to 5 feet of a dense shrub - an “escape route” for birds if a predator (cat?)
appears. Too close and the predator can sneak up on a bird. A half-day of
direct sun is good - afternoon shade is desired in north Texas.
OWEN YOST, in addition to being a
blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in
north Texas for over 30 years. He is a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement
Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American
Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape
Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is
at Yost87@charter.net in Denton.