Are you looking for a great way to spruce up your backyard? Maybe you want to find some yard décor that will add a pop of color or a centerpiece that will tie your other design elements together.
If that sounds familiar, you may want to consider buying a bird bath. The benefits of bird baths in the garden go beyond yard décor.
You may have refrained from buying a bird bath in the past because you’d heard some popular bird bath myths — but many of these are easily debunked.
The truth is, a bird bath benefits your yard in numerous ways, especially if you have a garden. Read on to learn about seven benefits of owning a bird bath.
Benefits of a Bird Bath
You may already know some of these, but a few of the benefits of a bird bath may surprise you.
1. Draw Birds to Your Yard
The most obvious benefit of having a bird bath in your yard is that it will draw in birds; if you enjoy birdwatching, that’s already reason enough to install a bird bath!
You might think, “Can’t I get the same effect from a bird feeder?” Not exactly–while a bird feeder will also draw in birds, feeders and baths attract different types of birds, so having one doesn’t make the other obsolete.
Some birds won’t care about the seeds in your feeder, but they’ll love the chance to preen and bathe in your bird bath!
How do birds take baths, you ask? They splash around in the water, moving their feathers in a way that will channel the water down to their skin.
2. Bring Bees to Your Garden
Birds aren’t the only thing drawn in by a nice bird bath: bees will also be interested in the new water source. A clean pool of water like a bird bath is the perfect place for bees to gather water for their hive.
While you might not want to engage with a bee the way you might like to with a bird, these little insects are still useful to have around.
Bees are excellent pollinators, so drawing them to your garden is a good thing. The bees will come for the water, then pollinate your plants while they’re in the area!
3. Protect Yourself From Pests
Bees may be a boon to your garden, but most other insects aren’t quite as helpful. Whether you have a vegetable or flower garden, there are all kinds of harmful bugs you need to protect your plants from.
A bird bath can help with that. As we’ve said, a lot of the birds that are drawn to bird baths wouldn’t show up for seed-filled feeders; that’s because they don’t eat seeds. They eat insects.
An influx of pest-eating birds can keep those bugs away from your plants, allowing them to grow in a healthier environment. Bees and wasps that are attracted by the bird bath will also help with this.
4. Aerate Your Soil
If you want a healthy lawn, aeration is important. If you’re growing a garden, that’s doubly true. Aeration is crucial to fostering the growth of strong, healthy plant life.
Aeration is the process of adding oxygen to your soil. It stops your soil from becoming too compact, making it easier for roots to get water and minerals that a plant needs to survive.
It may come as a surprise, but a bird bath can lead to better soil aeration for your yard — and you won’t even have to do the work yourself.
Those bug-eating birds we mentioned before will search for food in the dirt. They’ll use their talons and beak to gently dig up small patches of soil in search of insects and worms, aerating your lawn for you.
5. Keep Birds Healthy
A bird bath isn’t something our feathered friends do just for fun. Like humans, birds need to bathe regularly to keep themselves clean and healthy. That means that it’s important to keep your bird bath clean, too!
Bird bath designs can have a big impact on how useful the bath is to birds. For instance, you should avoid deep bird baths–birds don’t need more than two inches of water to bathe in.
You should also try to keep your bird bath in the shade so the water stays cool. Some nearby cover helps, too–birds would like a place to fly to if they get frightened.
6. Adds Some Beautiful Decoration
Setting aside the benefits of bringing in birds, bird baths are also a great addition to your yard on an aesthetic level. Bird bath designs are often elegant, natural shapes that look beautiful in your yard.
There are all kinds of bird bath ideas when it comes to decoration. Do you want a large, stone bird bath to serve as a centerpiece for the rest of your yard décor? What about a small, hanging bird bath for little birds?
Bird bath fountains can add a beautiful water feature to your yard, while heated bird baths maintain their placid pools even in winter.
As a bonus, many of the birds themselves are also attractive, bringing color and song to your backyard.
7. It’s a Learning Experience
Bird baths are a way for you to interact with and learn about your backyard nature. It brings all kinds of new creatures to your yard, from unfamiliar bird species to bees and other helpful insects.
Seeing some of these new critters may pique your interest. What kind of bird has that plumage? What do they like to eat? Are they native to the area, or are they just passing through?
Learning about these animals is fun and interesting, and it’s a great way to pass the time while relaxing in the garden. It can even be a fun family activity that kids can participate in!
How Bird Baths Help the Vegetable Garden
A birdbath is a helpful addition to any backyard vegetable plot.
Birds are natural predators of garden pests such as slugs, snails, caterpillars, and beetles. A birdbath will encourage them to hang around and start snacking.
Beneficial predatory insects are also drawn to water. Wasps love to troll bird baths for their next meal. They’ll also help control cabbage worms and aphids.
This means fewer harmful pesticides in your yard and on your food.
Some bird species, such as hummingbirds, play a critical role in pollination. They may also visit nearby plants on their way to the bird bath.
Bird baths also attract bees and butterflies looking for a drink. Bees are a welcome visitor to any vegetable garden for increasing food production.
One of the benefits of a bird bath is a better overall yield from your vegetable garden.
How Bird Baths Help the Flower Garden
A bird bath benefits your flower garden in many of the same ways it helps your veggie plot.
Birds are known to eat and transport seeds from various plants. As they visit your birdbath, they may inadvertently drop seeds into the flower garden, adding to the biodiversity of your garden. This means the creation of a more diverse ecosystem.
The presence of birds bathing and fluttering around the birdbath adds liveliness to your flower garden. There’s just something delightful about the antics around a busy birdbath that makes flower gardening just that much more enjoyable.
Enjoy the Benefits of a Bird Bath
Bird baths aren’t just for the birds! Aside from the practical advantages, you’ll have the opportunity to interact more intimately with the natural world.
Set up a seating area near the bird bath so you’ll have a comfortable spot for bird watching. Encourage kids to watch and learn about the different bird species, both resident and migratory visitors. You can also work together to make bird houses and feeders.
Use the bird bath as a focal point for capturing photographs or as inspiration for artwork. If you have been too busy to exercise your art muscles lately, a bird bath is an excellent opportunity to change that.
The interplay of feathers, movement, color, water, and sunshine offers endless possibilities for artistic expression.
Take a break from yard chores to spend some quiet time by the bird bath. Pick a spot in the shade with a cold drink and remember why you’re working so hard.
Along with the growing beauty of your garden, you’ll experience first-hand the satisfaction of knowing your hard work provides a healthy, welcoming, and much-needed safe space for local wildlife.
And what could be more beneficial than that?
Adding a birdbath to your backyard garden offers numerous benefits for both vegetable and flower gardens. From natural pest control and pollination assistance to increased biodiversity and improved soil health, the presence of a birdbath attracts birds (and bugs) and creates a thriving ecosystem.
One of the benefits of bird baths are the opportunities for watching, relaxing, and learning about the natural world around you.
By incorporating a birdbath, you not only enhance the beauty and productivity of your garden but also contribute to the conservation of wildlife and the overall ecological balance.
When you buy a bird bath, you aren’t just buying a fun conversation piece for the next time you have a garden party. You’re helping the health of your backyard nature (and improving your garden while you’re at it).
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2021 and has been completely updated.