Birds need to bathe to keep their feathers in good condition, and a birdbath is the easiest and cheapest way to provide water for them in your garden. You can make one from a terracotta saucer standing on an upturned pot or suspended from a branch, or buy one ready-made.
- Ensure the birdbath you choose has a stable base and is no more than 50mm deep, to entice small birds to jump in.
- Position your birdbath beyond the reach of cats, and in dappled shade so the water stays cool.
- Choose a spot close to shrubs and trees to give protective cover and perches for visiting birds.
- Add stones to the bath so the birds can perch to drink.
- Place your birdbath well away from bird feeders to keep feeding debris out of the water.
- Change the water regularly, as algae, leaves and bird droppings will contaminate it.
- Look out for mosquito larvae in the water, which take about 10 days after hatching to become adults. By changing the water every few days, you will be able to break their life cycle.
For more information about providing water for visiting birds and wildlife, including how to make a small pond and which plants to grow in it, pick up a copy of the November issue of ABC Gardening Australia magazine, on sale now.