Bird baths

To: Barbara Preston <>
Subject: Bird baths
From: martin butterfield <>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2010 15:14:39 +1000
We  used to have a birdbath when we lived at Bruce.  It eventually died when we were overseas due to a flock of choughs landing on it in an unbalncing manner so that the top fell off and shattered on some nearby rocks.  When operational, I overcame the 'depth problem by placing a couple of rocks in the middle of the bath giving a shallow area and a mid-bath perch.  It seemed to work well judging by the patronage of fantails, thornbills and honyeaters as well as larger birds.

The major pollution issue was the regurgitated pellets from currawongs (another reason to hate the species) dissolving to form a layer of masticated Cotoneaster berries or beetle body armour depending on the season.  As this was days before water restrictions I found that using a hose to refill it also de-sludged it sufficiently well for the end users to remain happy. 


On Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 2:45 PM, Barbara Preston <> wrote:
A lesson from the thread (other than to not run over the birdbath - might hurt the car ...) is to get one with a basin that's separate from the base so it's easy to tip and empty (and the base stays securely on the carefully leveled ground ...), and have it readily accessible for cleaning & adding water. Mine is not as accessible as I would wish, but OK for emptying and refilling every couple of days in summer (less frequently in winter). Mine has a very rough surface, and a good flat edge.
I noticed a rather too scruffy CR at it last summer, and not wanting possible disease spread I immediately emptied the basin, and did not refill for a few days - perhaps should also have done the bleach job ... (did not notice that CR again). 
BTW - lovely male Golden Whistler in the trees outside my office in recent days - there have been females /juveniles around. Lots of YFHEs enjoying the grevilleas, and, I think, a New Holland Honeyeater (did not get a clear view).

I think the observations about ravens dunking bread and whatever are fairly typical. And yes it does make it hard to keep clean. I can say I have given up on having a bird bath. Or that happened when a few years ago I accidentally drove the car over it and wrecked it. I used to just scrub it out with a brush every few days when I felt in the mood. They require much more maintenance than you might think at seeing one in the landscape shop and think oh that is a nice idea. For a start, even on a slightly sloping block, it is hard to get them to stay upright. The idea of using bleach etc to clean it seems a bit over the top. First I have heard of going to that extreme.
I think the designs of most of these things are terrible. They are usually shallow bowl shaped and smooth surfaced and thus minimally useful for small birds as they are much too deep.
-----Original Message-----
From: Sue Beatty [
Sent: Tuesday, 14 September 2010 8:58 AM
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] RE : Bird baths

I’m glad someone has brought up the subject of bird baths! The ravens who nest each year in a tree next door have got into the habit of bringing bread from another neighbouring garden, and dunking it in my bird bath.  I‘ve spoken twice to the neighbours who kindly leave out bread for the birds (sigh!) twice over the last couple of years, but it still seems to appear. Now I find that every morning, the ravens dunk whatever they get to eat in my bird bath – beakfulls of dog food, dismembered prey, donuts, lollies…. It’s such a foetid mess that other birds have stopped using it – alas. My latest plot is to cover the bath after dark so that when they come in the morning they can’t dunk. Of course no other birds can use it either. I wonder what time it’s safe to remove the cover? Does anyone have a better idea?



From: Judy Corp [
Sent: Tuesday, 14 September 2010 8:40 AM
To: 'Trish Munro'; 'Canberra Birds'
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] RE : Bird baths




We aren’t as diligent as that but fresh water every day is important. I’d be interested in others opinions on this too.




From: Trish Munro [
Sent: Tuesday, 14 September 2010 7:32 AM
To: Canberra Birds
Subject: [canberrabirds] RE : Bird baths


Hi COGers,
Can I have some advise please?
I read in the Sunday Canberra Times 'Relax' supplement that bird baths should be cleaned and disinfected with a weak bleach solution and then, after rinsing out and placing in the sun to thoroughly dry for a while, they are safe to replenish and use for birds again.
Is this regime OK by COG standards?
Please can I have some guidance before I do this.
Trish Munro

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the Canberra Ornithologists Group mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the list contact David McDonald, list manager, phone (02) 6231 8904 or email . If you can not contact David McDonald e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU