Outdoor fountains add a beautiful touch to any yard. They can also be functional as well as beautiful. Some fountains can work as a bird bath. In fact, fountain bird baths can be beneficial to birds. The running water of the fountain helps prevent mosquitoes from breeding and slows algae growth. Some birds like to bathe in running water as well.
Choosing a fountain: Bird bath fountains come in all styles and sizes. They range from simple to elaborate with multiple tiers and spigots. Some come with pumps that run off of solar power while others have pumps that need to be plugged in. For those concerned about providing birds with water in the winter, a few can be set up with heaters. Be sure to choose one that will be best for your yard size and style as well as available power sources to plug in pumps, heaters, etc. Bird baths should also be shallow and easy for the bird to climb out of.
Placement: Bird bath fountains should be placed with the best benefit and attraction to birds. It is not recommended that one place them too much out in the open. It is also not good to place them too close to trees and bushes where predators can spring out at them. The best place to put the fountain is close enough to cover for birds to escape a predator, but far enough that they can see the predator coming. You also don't want to place it within high grass or flower beds that could be concealing a possible predator such as a cat. Place the fountain close enough to an outlet to be able to plug in a pump or heater. Solar bird baths should have full sun at least part of the day.
Care: It's important that you keep your bird bath fountain clean. Not only is it good for the birds, but it helps keep the pumps and other accessories running smoothly. Fountains have a high rate of evaporation and may require water to be added on a regular basis. Most pumps require a certain amount of water to keep running properly. Water should be changed every few weeks. When draining the water, be sure to clean the fountain and check the pump. Algae and dirt can be scrubbed off and a gentle algaecide is usually considered safe. Be sure to read instructions on any chemical used to make sure it is bird-friendly. Bleaching is not recommended and can be harmful.
Winter: Pumps can be damaged if the water freezes. If you are not planning to keep a heated bird bath in the winter, remove the pump and store it until the weather gets warmer.
Bird bath fountains can add a nice touch of art to your yard while helping wildlife. A properly chosen, placed, and cared for fountain can provide many hours of enjoyment.