Birdbaths Are Good for the Garden

| 6/24/2012 11:36:44 AM

Tags: birds, birdbath, organic gardening, organic pest control, edible landscape, pollination, wasps, Nan Chase,

I believe that a birdbath is one of the best additions you can make to the garden, for a number of reasons. But before I go into those, hear me roar: Get rid of your birdfeeder!

That's right. Get rid of your birdfeeder and instead strive to make your whole garden a natural birdfeeder, with the food-rich habitat that birds will seek out on their own; just add water. Sure, birdfeeders attract lots of interesting birds, but at what price? Birdfeeders also attract squirrels, raccoons, and, in my town, bears. Who needs that?

Certainly not the birds. Keeping a birdfeeder stocked with seeds for birds to squabble over reminds me of how too much of America eats: with fast food so cheap and so universally accessible that people sit around, and worse, drive around, eating junk food as a pastime, with frightening results. Do you really want to do that to birds? 


OK, here's what a birdbath can do for your garden. Birds will come to your birdbath for the water they need -- for drinking and for grooming. While they're hanging around they will hunt for the insects and worms and seeds and flower parts they like to eat. In the process they will help aerate the soil, help groom dead plant material, and help keep plants healthy as they devour pests. Yes, birds may eat some fruit, especially if you grow berries or cherries, but gardeners can certainly take steps to mitigate losses.

The birds feeding in your garden will show you more about their natural behavior than they will at a feeder. I love to watch goldfinches perch on top of my Jerusalem artichoke blooms and bend upside down as they extract the seeds.

3/22/2018 8:35:02 AM

Mosquitoes will set up shop where there is still, standing water. So, you can help prevent them by manually agitating the water, or you can add a waterfall feature, or something more simple like a solar-powered Water Wiggler to keep the water moving. Or you can get "dunks" tablets to put into the bowl, which creates a bacteria that will kill the mosquitoes and larvae, but will be harmless to the birds and other organisms.

7/16/2017 8:46:01 AM

What can I do about mosquito larvae setting up in bird baths and other pools of water ???

7/16/2017 8:44:57 AM

What about mosquito larvae that infest in most small bodies of water including bird baths.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!