With warmer summer weather upon us – at least on some days! – and with many young birds having now fledged the nest, the importance of providing the birds in your garden with a supply of clean water becomes even more important.

Two main reasons for providing clean water for garden birds

The birds in your garden need clean water for two key reasons: Drinking and bathing. Drinking is especially important to seed eating birds such as finches, as, and unlike birds which largely eat insects, there is no moisture in their natural food or the seed and seed mixes you put out for them. Birds which eat more insects such as Tits and Robins also still need to drink, as their diet will not always just be insects and other invertebrates – e.g. both will eat seeds and other foods you put out such as suet pellets and suet blocks.

Ensuring your birds’ water supply is clean is absolutely essential, as dirty and stale water can harbour diseases which can prove fatal to birds. So if your bird bath is being used regularly, then rinse it out whenever the water looks discoloured and refill with clean water (which hardly takes a minute).

As for bathing, this is important to most species of bird because the process helps keep their plumage in good condition, and this partly because wetting the feathers loosens dirt and also makes them easier to preen with the bird’s bill.

But actually there’s third reason to put clean water out for the birds in your garden: It’s great watching them drinking, bathing and apparently enjoying the latter! The picture here of a young Blackbird taking a bath illustrates the point perfectly.

A further point to consider is that if you live in an urban area, then for many birds their only source of clean water is that provided by bird lovers in their gardens. So it’s that important!

Top tips for providing clean water for garden birds:

  • Use a bird bath and position it well away from undergrowth where predators like cats can hide

  • Bird baths are available as those on a stand or placed straight on the ground – both are fine

  • Crucially, ensure the water is clean and fresh and this may mean changing it several times a day during the summer months especially

  • Occasionally, give the bird bath a proper clean to remove dirt and algae but be sure to thoroughly rinse before refilling to ensure any cleaning fluid is completed removed