Birds need water year-round. During rainy seasons, puddles or seasonal flooding make water widely available, but in the hot, dry summer months, or the cold, dry winter months, readily accessible water can be in short supply. Maintaining a backyard birdbath or water feature can not only provide an important drinking and bathing resource for birds, but also great birdwatching opportunities for you! At the Sutton Center, we have a steady stream of birds visiting our water feature on hot summer afternoons.
When choosing a birdbath, a wide and shallow bowl is better than a deep one, and a grippy surface is better than a slippery one for the birds to maintain their footing. Replace the water at least every-other day both to keep the bath stocked, but also to prevent mosquitoes from using it as a breeding area. Give the bowl an occasional scrub with a scrub brush followed by a rinse with a hose or bucket.
Features incorporating moving water are especially attractive to birds. Here is an article about constructing a water feature that we have here at the Sutton Center: bubbler-rock-DIY-Sutton-Newsletter-winter-2009.pdf