The Best Birdbaths: Your Guide to Water Features for Your Feathered Friends

Are you looking for a decorative addition to your property? A birdbath is a great choice because it’s pretty, functional, and fun.

Read on for info on how to select and maintain what is sure to become an attractive and entertaining focal point in your garden.

What's new in the garden this spring? Birdbaths! The relaxing tones of chirping birds and trickling water are yours for the asking with these popular products and accessories. Add the easiest of all water features to your backyard this weekend, and sit back and de-stress with your feathered friends.

Welcome Back, Frequent Flyers

Spring is here in my corner of Pennsylvania!

The freeze warnings are past and northern migrations are underway. I’m surrounded by woodpeckers, warblers, and finches, and their hammering, singing, mating, and nesting are in full swing.

On a particularly warm afternoon I was daydreaming in the back garden when I was scolded by a feisty house sparrow. He perched on the edge of an empty birdbath, telling me in no uncertain terms that there should be water in it!

Chickadees Are People, Too

Like us, nature’s avian species need water for drinking, bathing, and cooling down in warm weather. They also enjoy basking in the sun’s rays. They’re ingenious creatures with a number of grooming tricks beneath their wings.

Finding a good birdbath will let your birds frolick |
Black-capped Chickadee

Did you know that they also bathe on wet leaves, in the rain, in dust, and even under blankets of ants?

That’s right. There are a variety of ways to rid feathers of excess oil, parasites, and bacteria. And when you make your garden a welcoming place for the native varieties in your area, you’ll be able to enjoy observing their grooming habits at close range.

Get Into the Sport of It

Have you ever heard a cacophony of chirping and singing and wondered where it was all coming from? I became interested in attracting birds to my yard the first spring I moved here. I awoke one morning to the sound of six clear and distinctly different tunes.

I couldn’t wait to get to work! I set up a thistle feeder, a black oil sunflower seed dispenser, and a birdbath. Then I waited.

The next time I heard the chattering, I looked out to see a dark gray male mockingbird perched in the garden, singing his heart out. All six songs were his! That’s when I was hooked.

Back in the Day

Birdbaths trace their roots to the ornate sculptures of European gardens at the turn of the last century, when the well-to-do relished lush gardens for pure pleasure.

This budding leisure class enjoyed an existence that was drastically different from that of the farmers of the world, who often went to great lengths to keep winged predators away from their properties and the crops planted there.

Want to enjoy the constant sound of happy sing birds? If so, you need a birdbath. Find out what you need to know today.
Provide a water feature in your yard and enjoy the company of bluebirds!

Around that time, a concrete company called Pulham & Sons offered ornate birdbaths in its catalogs in the 1920s and ’30s, to the delight of both birds and birdwatchers. They are considered to be one of the earliest manufacturers of such garden adornments.

While my forbears were raising crops on a Chester County farm, they didn’t encourage winged visitors to the fields. But they did have a concrete basin on a pedestal on the formal house lawn, surrounded by decorative plantings of giant hostas, in elegant European style.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the Japanese were setting basins of water into their gardens, as well.

But not for the birds!

Stone basins called “chozubachi” are shallow rock basins that have their origins in 13th century Buddhist culture, and were originally for purification before entering sacred spaces.

It wasn’t long before chozubachi were all the rage among patrons of the arts.

Backyard Shishi Odoshi |
Shishi-odoshi water feature with stone basin.

Soon, a second water element began to feature prominently in Japanese gardens. “Shishi-odoshi” or “deer scare” originated with ancient farmers who needed to keep deer and wild boars away from their crops. This ingeniously simple device uses gravity to make water trickle down a bamboo tube, and makes a clunking sound as it empties into a reservoir below.

It wasn’t long before shishi-odoshi made their way into ornamental gardens, to deter feathered and furry visitors.

Today, both are readily available as birdbaths, and I’ll bet they attract a curious feathered fellow or two to your yard!

Get Started

Here are some popular birdbaths and accessories that are making appearances in gardens this spring. They are available on Amazon, so you can have them in time for your next weekend project!

Read on to see which models we’ve chosen as Top and Bargain Picks.

What’s Your Style?

Birdbaths come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. Right now, I have two. The first is a basin and pedestal unit on a south-facing patch of lawn, surrounded by flowering perennial border gardens. The second is a solid concrete piece on the shadier northeast side, near a dwarf weeping cherry tree and a pink-blossoming weigela bush.

Want to enjoy the sounds and antics of our feathered friends? If so, invest in bird bath. Find out what you need to know today with this handy guide!

In addition to concrete and terra cotta, you may like:

  • Cast stone
  • Cast iron
  • Clay
  • Ceramic
  • Metallic
  • Resin or plastic
  • Glass
  • Repurposed materials, such as pie plates
  • Mechanical or natural water features, such as fountains and ponds
  • Original pieces carved from wood, stone, and metal

And as for styles, consider:

  • Hanging
  • Wall-mounted
  • One-piece standing
  • Two-piece standing
  • Over-the-railing
  • Man-made or naturally built in, like a concrete basin in a statue or wall, or the shallow depression of a stone in a rock garden

Don’t forget the accessories:

  • Bubblers, aerators, and agitators
  • Heaters – solar or electric
  • Fountains and waterfalls

Serene and Green

Water features create tranquil spaces in a landscape. A refreshing basin of water that glistens in the sun and ripples with a breeze makes me feel peaceful.

Trickling fountains add rhythm and atmosphere. Wouldn’t you love to fashion a garden retreat for yourself, while helping to sustain local wildlife?

But What Does It Do?

I’m a huge fan of beauty in functional forms. If I have a spectacular bowl, you can bet I’ll serve salad in it, rather than show it to you through the glass of my china cupboard.

Garden ornaments are available out there by the dozen, right? The infamous bending over gardener comes to mind…

Sun Pottery GP0112ES Ceramic Bird Bath available on Amazon

Instead, why not try something new this year? Add a native plant or two to your scene, and provide a water source for one of nature’s most intriguing creatures.

Birdwatching is a great de-stressor. Pick up a good bird guide, start a list of sightings, and let the relaxation of communing with nature wash over you.

Get Started: Reviews of the Trendiest Tubs for Sophisticated Birders

From traditional to whimsical, there’s something for everyone! Read on to check out a few more popular models and accessories that are making appearances in gardens this spring, all available on

Standing, Hanging, and Swinging Varieties

Top Pick Up Front: Athena Garden

The Athena Garden Cast Stone Large Octagon Birdbath is a real powerhouse, and it’s our top pick for form and function.

Sturdy and stable, this traditional style is crafted from glass-fiber reinforced concrete construction.

Athena Garden Cast Stone Large Octagon Bird Bath

Weighing in at 45 pounds, it’s a one-piece standing basin-on-pedestal with hand wrought architectural detail. Measuring 15 x 15 x 21” with a 2” depth, this model comes in eight decorative colors and is sure to become a focal point in your garden.


  • Rough inside for traction
  • Solid and stable
  • Shallow depth appropriate for small birds
  • Ample rim for perching
  • Light color minimizes water temp increases
  • Easy to sanitize


  • Heavy to tote
  • Requires heating element for winter use

What Others Are Saying

Customer reviews at the time of this writing were positive overall, citing satisfaction with construction, appearance, and performance.

Check prices and read customer reviews on Amazon now.

Esschert Design

Esschert Design’s Cast Iron Birdbath with Bracket is a unique model that mounts on a window frame or post.

Constructed of solid cast iron, this is a multi-piece fluted basin with an open-work bracket that includes a hook for hanging a plant.

Esschert Design FB163 Cast Iron Birdbath with Bracket

Weighing 3.3 pounds, the unit measures 11.4 x 7.9 x 10” and sports two realistic cast iron birds that pose naturally on the basin’s edge.


  • Rough inside for traction
  • Small and attractive
  • Garden not required – attaches to window frame or post
  • Can be filled with seed instead of water in winter


  • Installation required
  • Prone to rust
  • Small basins evaporate rapidly
  • Dark colors and metal may increase water temperature
  • Maintenance of cast iron required, in addition to proper sanitization

What Others Are Saying.

Amazon reviews at the time of this writing are mixed. The general consensus seems to be that the item is sturdy, but that assembly may pose a challenge, as pieces must be properly aligned.

Many stated that the basin is a better holder for seed than water, due to its small size.

Check prices and read customer reviews on Amazon now.

Burley Clay

The Burley Clay Chickadee Bird Bath Set is proudly made in the USA.

Made of clay, this two-piece standing basin-on-pedestal weighs 25.6 pounds and measures 17 x 17 x 23.” Its hollow base increases its portability.

Burley Clay Chickadee Bird Bath Set

Tastefully appointed with hand-painted birds in a matte finish, this model will add a touch of color to your landscape.


  • Rough inside for traction
  • Two pieces, for easy toting
  • Can invert the top to store outdoors in winter
  • Light color minimizes water temperature increases
  • Easy to sanitize


  • Requires heating element for winter use

What Others Are Saying

Reviews by purchasers at the time of this writing are mostly positive, citing the attractive pedestal details. Customers state that the product appears to be crafted in pastel shades, when in fact the details are much bolder.

Also, there is some concern as to the stability of the basin on windy days.

Check prices and read all of the reviews on Amazon now.


The Gardman Glazed Ceramic hanging Bird Bath/Feeder suspends from chains above your garden.

This lovely molded ceramic model can be filled with water or seed. Glazed dark blue inside, it has a natural matte exterior with a charming raised bird motif.

Gardman BA01111 Glazed Ceramic Hanging Bird Bath/Feeder

Weighing only 4.8 pounds, the unit measures 2.75 x 10.5 x 10.5,” and suspends by S-hooks from three galvanized steel chains.

A smaller 8″ version is also available.


  • Suspends easily from a tree, wall bracket, or feeding station
  • Shallow depth is good for smaller birds
  • Easy to sanitize the basin


  • Smooth inside inhibits traction
  • Small basins evaporate rapidly
  • Dark colors may increase water temperature
  • Requires maintenance of galvanized chain

What Others Are Saying

Reviews at the time of this writing were generally positive for this product. It is considered sturdy and attractive. However, it holds less water than one would think, as it must be filled to a level below that of the hooks.

In addition, customers report that water evaporates quickly, and that the chain is prone to rust.

Check prices and read more customer reviews on Amazon now.

Shimmering Basins

Achla Designs

The Achla Designs Hammered Copper Bowl is a beauty that works equally well as a stand-alone in a rock garden, or atop a pedestal that can accommodate its threaded flange.

Achla Designs Hammered Copper Bowl,

Constructed of polished copper, this broad-rimmed 1.9-pound basin measures 12 1/2” in diameter, and has a hammered inside with a 2.5” depth.


  • Rough inside for traction
  • Ample rim for perching
  • Adds a lustrous focal point to any garden
  • Stands alone or on a pedestal, post, or stand


  • Base not included
  • Metal may increase water temperature
  • Maintenance of metal required, in addition to basin sanitizing

What Others Are Saying

Customers at the time of this writing were pleased overall with this product. It does have a threaded flange on the bottom for mounting, so do not plan to place it on a flat surface or it won’t be level.

Some purchasers also noted a peeling of the finish.

Check prices and read customer reviews on Amazon now.

Gifted Living

The Sea Bird Bath by Gifted Living is made of sturdy glass, suitable for rock garden placement.

Sea Bird Bath

At 1.2 pounds, this scallop-ridged blue-green glass basin is easy to move about the garden. It measures 18 x 18 x 3” and creates the perfect oasis for birds wherever it is placed.


  • Use with or without a stake (not included)
  • Easy to relocate
  • This colorful focal point is likely to attract butterflies as well
  • Shallow enough for smaller birds


  • Smooth interior and edges make for difficult traction
  • Slippery to maintain

What Others Are Saying

Several Amazon customers are enjoying this glass basin. While reviews are few in number at this time, they give high marks to this product’s appearance in the garden.

Check prices and read reviews on Amazon now.

Souped-Up Varieties

Allied Precision Industries 650

API’s 650 Heated Bird Bath with Mounting Bracket is proudly made in the U.S.A. and offers year-round manageability.

Made of weather-resistant plastic, this light stone-colored basin mounts to a deck or porch rail. At one pound, it measures 20 x 20 x 2.”

API 650 Heated Bird Bath with Mounting Bracket

The key features are its built-in thermostat for temps to -20°F, its 120-volt heater (150 watts), and its EZ Tilt-To-Clean deck rail mount.

This product is CSA listed, and the manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.


  • Shallow depth is good for smaller birds
  • Ideal for year-round use
  • Includes convenient clamp-on mounting bracket
  • Cord tucks away for summer use
  • Using the easy dump feature is optional; basin can also be removed for water disposal
  • Easy to maintain


  • Easy dump feature may not be nice for neighbors below!

What Others Are Saying

Railings vary in size, and most buyers found the mounting of this unit to be a challenge. Instructions were confusing to some. As for use in cold weather and ease of cleaning, the unit performed satisfactorily for most.

Check prices and read customer reviews on Amazon now.

Smart Solar

Smart Solar’s Gray Weathered Stone Country Gardens 2-Tier Solar-On-Demand Fountain (34222RMI) is a great green water feature for any garden, attracting birds, adding natural water sounds, and making use of solar power.

This fiberglass/resin product is a two-tiered solar fountain and birdbath in one, with an attractive faux weathered-stone finish accented by two realistic turtles.

Smart Solar 34222RM1 Gray Weathered Stone Country Gardens 2-Tier Solar-On-Demand Fountain

Weighing 24 pounds, the unit measures 32 x 21 x 21” and has patented Solar-on-Demand technology, which combines solar power with a battery backup. The manufacturer offers a 1-year limited warranty.


  • Recycles water and holds 2 1/4 gallons in a hidden reservoir
  • Maximizes water flow with solar/battery combination, switching from solar to battery beneath passing clouds
  • Up to 6 hours of operation when fully charged
  • Night mode option to run in day or evening – in the “off” position, the solar unit will charge the battery instead of running the fountain, and with the stored power the fountain can be turned on at night, for an added attraction to an evening garden soirée
  • Solar feature can be turned off
  • Use anywhere – no electricity needed
  • Easy maintenance


  • Consecutively cloudy days mean no water fountain, as there is no solar power to run the fountain or charge the battery

What Others Are Saying

The majority of shoppers that commented on various retail sites liked the appearance and functions of this unit. Reviewers mentioned that frequent cleaning was required, and some surface peeling and deterioration of the resin was noted.

One customer reported contacting Smart Solar and learning that the product has been discontinued, and replacement parts are no longer available. She felt the pump and filter required high maintenance, and after 10 months had routine difficulty with the upper tier, involving air in the pump chamber and a hole in the bowl.

Check prices and read customer reviews on Amazon now.

It’s All About the Accessories

Consider the following additional accessories to enhance your birdbath experience:

Birds Choice Granite Bubbler

The Birds Choice Granite Bubbler is an aerator that adds motion to water, giving the birds a relaxing spa treatment.

Birds Choice Granite Bubbler

Constructed of fiberglass, this tan-colored electric faux granite waterfall weighs 2 pounds and measures 6 x 6 x 4.” It requires 1 1/2” of water to operate its 120 GPH recirculating pump. A filter and 6-foot electrical cord are included.


  • Moving water is natural-looking, and likely to attract more birds than still water
  • The sound of natural water adds an element of serenity to your garden
  • Water movement inhibits growth of bacteria and breeding of mosquitoes
  • Easy to use
  • Versatility – not just for birdbaths


  • Power source required
  • Visible cord

What Others Are Saying

Generally speaking, this product satisfied most customers. Noted were some flaking of the faux finish, and the necessity of cleaning the unit’s filter frequently.

Check prices and read customer reviews on Amazon now.

K&H 9000 Ice Eliminator

The K&H 9000 Ice Eliminator (50-watt) makes winter water flow freely.

Comprised of an aluminum housing with a plastic/enamel finish, this thermostatically-controlled product de-ices birdbaths in temps to -20°F. It weighs 1.3 pounds and measures 7 x 3 x 1.”

K&H 9000 Ice Eliminator BirdBath 50-Watt De-Icer

This unit is MET Safety Listed, and the manufacturer offers a 3-year warranty and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.


  • Unit can be spraypainted any color
  • Blends naturally with birdbath
  • Easy maintenance
  • Won’t stain, calcify, or rust
  • Won’t melt plastic


  • Requires power source

What Others Are Saying

Most users that reviewed this de-icer were very pleased with the performance. Some noted that the unit didn’t thaw the entire bath, and others thought the cord was a little short.

The manufacturer states that the product is safe to handle when warm, but please remember to unplug it before cleaning.

Check prices and read customer reviews now.


The Ankway Solar-Powered Bird Bath Fountain Pump adds movement to water, for a more natural way to attract birds to your garden.

Made of tough plastic, a 7v/1.4w solar panel, and a brushless pump, this 8-ounce marvel floats in water from 1 3/4” to 18” deep. It measures 6.8 x 2.2 x 6.5” and includes 5 fountain spray attachments.

Ankway Solar Powered Bird bath Fountain Pump

The manufacturer offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, backed by a lifetime warranty.


  • Environmentally friendly, with no cord or battery
  • Easy to assemble
  • 3-Second startup in sunshine
  • Water movement inhibits growth of bacteria and breeding of mosquitoes
  • Versatility – not just for birdbaths
  • Works in various water depths


  • If the basin dries out, the pump can burn out
  • Requires adequate sunlight for optimal operation
  • Requires regular maintenance

What Others Are Saying

Most purchasers that reviewed this product love their fountain pump, as long as it’s a sunny day. Please note that the unit floats, and as it does so, it may spout water outside the bath, potentially drying itself out.

Also, if there is air in the pump, you should not connect a spray head until the pump sprays normally.

And finally, the unit begins to absorb rays as soon as it is in the sun, so hold it upside down or out of the sun while you prepare for installation, to prevent the motor from operating until the unit is in water. The motor will burn out quickly if it operates dry.

There are lots of thirsty travelers out there waiting to stop by your house for a tall, cool one. They have a knack for spotting appealing water sources, and you’ll be birdwatching before you know it!

Check prices and read reviews on Amazon now.

Quick Tips

Your selection will represent your unique sense of style. Now that we’ve reviewed a selection of our favorites, here are some quick tips, to help you to choose which is right for you.

  • If you have trees with low limbs, consider a hanging model.
  • Concrete is heavy! Consider the basin + pedestal style for ease of transport and maintenance.
  • Cast iron is also heavy. Purchase one that is copper-coated to inhibit rusting.
  • Resin and plastic are affordable and portable. They won’t crack in winter, but can fade and deteriorate in extreme heat. If not full, they may topple.

Birdbath in Winter |

  • Glass basins add a delicate touch to any garden and attract tiny birds and butterflies, but they are fragile and slippery to clean.
  • Measure your railing if you are looking for one for the deck, as widths vary.
  • Make sure any mounted unit comes with the appropriate hardware for your surface. If you’re in a condo, make sure mountings are permitted, and be mindful of downstairs neighbors when tipping the basin for cleaning!

Location, Location, Location

Trying to figure out where you’ll place your new basin? First, learn what plants attract native birds, and incorporate them into your garden. Offer water nearby.

According to my go-to gardening reference, Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Gardeningif you have perimeter plantings of thick native shrubs and trees – particularly those with fruit, like barberries – your avian population will increase dramatically.

An attractive bird bath |
A Catbird keeps a wary eye out for predators.

Placing a water-filled basin on a lawn, a short flight from the perimeter with full view of any approaching predators, is ideal.

Near my backyard bath, I have a finch feeder filled with thistle seed. It hangs from a shepherd’s staff in a patch of cone flowers.

These tiny red-headed and bright yellow beauties love to stage on the flowers. They perch here and take turns bathing and eating. In the fall, they eat every last seed from the dry, brown heads of the flowers, clinging to the swaying stems as they fill themselves for a long flight.

Spa Treatment

Imagine you’re flying back from winter vacation, and in desperate need of a cool drink and a shower.

From your lofty height, you see a glimmer. Cool! An island in a pond (i.e. a rock in a basin) and you come in for a landing.

Our friends on the wing like to see who else is at the pool and gauge the height of water before venturing in, so make sure to provide sloping sides, a reasonable depth of one to four inches of water, and maybe one or two rocky mounds. Make sure the basin’s surface is somewhat rough, for good traction.

Eastern Bluebird in bird bath

Provide a place to perch before, during, and after bathing. A nearby fence, shrub, or tree, and a rock or branch in the bath are welcome comforts. They also provide places to fly to in the event that a quick getaway is needed.

Want some bubbles in that bath? With a mechanized aerator, your water will ripple and dance – attracting birds, discouraging mosquitoes, and captivating visitors to your garden.

Safe and Sound

Did you know that in addition to our beaked buddies, other wildlife may take advantage of a fresh water source?

If you have wildlife of the really wild kind – like foxes and raccoons – you may want to place units at a distance from your home, patio, and play areas.

Bird Fountain with Bubbler |

Everybody Out of the Pool

Because birdbaths bring a variety of animals together in a small area, a weekly rinse out with a vinegar solution is your best bet.

Well, that sparrow reminded me that it’s time to get ready. Provided there are no manufacturer’s instructions to the contrary on your model, I recommend the following solution for inexpensive and easy maintenance.

Here’s how I clean the watering holes at my house:

You’ll need:

  • 4 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Clean scrub brush
  • Water for rinsing

1. Mix the vinegar and water to make a disinfecting solution.

2. Rinse the inside of the basin with plain water, using a hose or bucket.

3. Pour in the disinfectant mixture and scrub vigorously to remove droppings, algae, and debris. Soak for 10 minutes.

4. Rinse thoroughly with plain water.

Now you’re ready to fill ‘er up!

Occasionally, I do a mid-week spruce up, like after a storm that brings down twigs and leaves, or after a raucous time at the feeder brings a crowd to the bath.

Looking for the best birdbath to add a focal point to your garden that attracts wild birds? Read our review of the best models on Gardener's Path:

An Environmentally Sound Investment

Did you know that the more plants you have, the more feathered fauna you’ll have; the more types of plants you have, the more types of birds you’ll have; and the more birds you have, the fewer insect pests you’ll have? That’s a mouthful from Mother Earth News.

Last spring, I had the privilege of watching a pair of robins raise their young right outside my back door. Each day, the parents took turns bringing back insects to feed their six open-mouthed babies, until they were so big I thought the nest would burst. No bugs crawled under my back door that year!

Go inside your house, and look out a window. Do you see a place that might be a good spot to attract these fascinating creatures, for your family to watch?

Is it near a water source for frequent cleaning? Are there shrubs for staging? Some species like to perch with their wings outstretched, until they are dry enough to fly off. You’ll know the perfect spot when you see it.

Spring into a New Hobby: De-Stress with Your Feathered Friends

First a birdbath, then a pair of binoculars, a bird guide, a growing list of birds you’ve seen so far, and suddenly you have a new hobby!

Colored finches playing in a bird bath |

Why not head out to the garden to find the perfect spot for your new backyard water feature? Get outside and make new friends – the feathered kind! What are you waiting for? Spring has sprung!

There’s something for everyone, when it comes to attracting and enjoying birds. If you don’t yet have a birdbath, then be sure to check out our top suggested models.

Tell us about some of your favorites, and let us know what kind of new water features you’ve added to your outdoor spaces in the comments.

And while you are installing a bath, you might consider adding a few feeders in the same location. We list all of our favorites here.

Photos: Shutterstock. Product photos courtesy of the manufacturer or distributor.

About Nan Schiller

Nan Schiller is a writer with deep roots in the soil of southeastern Pennsylvania. Her background includes landscape and floral design, a BS in business from Villanova University, and a Certificate of Merit in floral design from Longwood Gardens. An advocate of organic gardening with native plants, she’s always got dirt under her nails and freckles on her nose. With wit and hopefully some wisdom, she shares what she’s learned and is always ready to dig into a new project!

Leave a Reply

Photo and Image Files
Audio and Video Files
Other File Types
1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
Linda Richelson Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Linda Richelson
Linda Richelson

I like the bird bath in the last picture. It appears to be shallow, with a sprinkler head, metal, and nice looking. Where did that one come from?