Birds bathe to keep clean and also to keep their feathers in good condition. A few species – Starling and House Sparrow for example – like to bathe in groups and it’s a great spectacle to see eight or more birds trying to take a bath at the same time.

It is best to use tap water rather than from a water-butt (unless the water from a butt is ‘new and fresh’ – e.g. after a storm), and the water topped up or replaced whenever necessary (which will probably be at least once a day if the birds take to it). It’s likely that a small build-up of algae will occur and attach itself to the bath, but this can be easily cleaned off with a stiff brush (an old washing up brush is ideal). It’s best not to use household detergent, we have a number of specially formulated cleaning solutions (see our hygiene section) which are safe for birds and won’t harm your equipment.

Providing clean water is important year-round. In fact it’s particularly important to ensure clean water is available when the ground is frozen in the depths of winter. So it might mean chipping the ice out of your bird bath on a cold winter morning. Whatever the weather, fresh water can’t be bettered