Water for birds
Why water is important
Providing water for birds is often forgotten about, but is vital for their survival, just like humans
All birds need water to survive. How much of it depends a lot on their diet; insect-eating birds will need less water than ones that have a dry diet of seeds.
To keep their feathers in tip-top condition birds need to regularly clean them. Shallow water is a great way of washing out any grit or lice before preening them.
These come in various varieties and designs but all have the same result, to provide some shallow water for the birds. Prices vary but this is more for your taste and style, not what is more effective for the birds.
Different birds like different depths of water and most bird baths will have a shallow, gradually deepening basin for this reason.
The baths will also have rough edges for the birds to dig their claws in so as not to fall into the deeper water.
Shallow dish or container
The birds are more than happy to use a shallow dish or container to drink and wash in. For example a plant pot saucer or shallow bowl are ideal.
If your container / dish has smooth sides, consider placing clean gravel in it to give the smaller birds something to grip onto.
You could include a wobbly rock to help both as a perching spot, and to keep water from icing over in winter.
An important point to remember is to not make the water too deep to prevent fledglings from drowning. During very warm weather many birds may attempt to access water they may not usually risk, such as deep water butts. A useful tip is place some bamboo canes or long sticks into the water, protruding above the water level. They make a simple escape route for birds and could prevent drowning.