"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
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Bird baths. Bird bath heaters
Preferably, the bird bath should be placed in an large open space but near a tree so a frightened bird can fly up easily to an overhanging limb if disturbed. If space is limited try to keep two feet (61 cm) of open space on all sides of the bath so that the birds can see danger (cats!) coming with enough time to escape. Bird baths may also be placed on a small patio or on a deck railing.

A bird bath requires regular maintenance as the birds use the wateri for bathing as well as for drinking. Water should be replaced frequently to attract as many birds as possible. It will also prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs. A bath made of concrete should be scrubbed clean from time to time to prevent algae from making the bowl slippery.
Do not use cleaners as they can be harmful to your feathered friends. However you can use vinegar for a good scrubbing; let the bath dry for a few hours before refilling with water. Vinegar is a natural product and will not harm the birds.

Bird baths
Bird bath heater

Bird Baths

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Bird baths. Bird bath heater

A bird bath is a strong attraction for birds, and especially so during the summer months. Bird baths that provide a reliable source of water in winter can add to this attraction. A very shallow, gradually deepening bird bath can attract many different species of birds. Two or three inches (50-76 mm) of water in the center is all that is needed for most backyard birds because they do not submerge their bodies, only dipping their wings to splash water on their backs. Elevation on a pedestal is a common safety measure, providing a clear area around the bird bath that is free of hiding locations for predators. The bird bath will attract more birds if placed where a frightened bird can fly up easily to an overhanging limb or resting place if disturbed or attacked.
Design and construction
The typical and traditional bird bath is made of molded concrete formed in two pieces, the bowl and the pedestal. Lighter plastic models are available as well. The pedestal is typically about one meter (3'.4") tall. An important feature of a bird bath is a place to perch. The bath should also be shallow enough to avoid the risk of birds drowning. This requirement may be fulfilled simply by making the bowl or container part shallow enough to allow birds to perch in the water. Another way is to add a number of clean stones inside the bowl to create places on which a bird might stand.
Bird bath heaters
Birds enjoy a well maintained bird bath all year round. In colder climates during the winter months a bird bath heater is required to keep the water from freezing over. Although birds need less water during the winter months some people still like to have the water out in the yard for the birds. Without a good water supply birds have to resort to "drinking" snow. Some bird baths come with a build-in bowl heater. An immersion bird bath heater can be purchased in many retail outlets. Using an aquarium heater is another option. It is also possible to build your own heated bird bath. All you need is a shallow stainless steel or plastic bowl and build a box around it. The water can be kept from freezing by placing a 40 watt light bulb, a battery warmer or a heater cable below the bowl.

This very heavy bird bath is well supported
by an old tree stump

This poorly maintained bird bath does not
look too inviting!
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