Birdbaths, along with birdfeeders and a lot of container plants, can encourage wild birds to visit and keep coming back to your balcony garden. Birdfeeders and plants provide birdseed and safe resting places, and birdbaths can complete your balcony bird habitat by providing a place for birds to bathe, cool off and get a drink.
Birdbath types. Traditional birdbaths are made of concrete or terra cotta, but stay away from these, as birdbaths on balconies should not be heavy. Purchase a lightweight birdbath or create one yourself. You can use a large shallow bowl, the tray of a plant container, or anything else with a similar shape (just make sure the container will stand up to the elements and not rust or contain toxic chemicals) and secure it to a pedestal that is about 3 feet tall. If there isn’t much floor space on the balcony, purchase a deck-mounted birdbath that clamps onto a balcony ledge, or purchase or make a hanging birdbath that can hang from a hook or balcony awning.
Birdbath setup. A solar-powered birdbath fountain or battery-operated water mover will be effective in inviting birds, as they are attracted to the sight and sound of moving water. Moving water will also cut down on mosquitoes and other insects that like standing water.
Birds will feel safer bathing in an open area where they can see all around them (to spot any potential predators), and the space should have plenty of places to perch. It should not be underneath anything that will drop debris into the water (birdbath, tree, etc.).
The birdbath can be incorporated into the design of the balcony, with several ferns or other plants tucked underneath. Make sure that you can see the birdbath from inside so that you can watch the birds enjoy it!
Birdbath maintenance. If you don’t use a device that moves the birdbath’s water, dump out the water every day into your plants and add fresh water. If you do have a water-moving device, you can change the water every few days. Water changes will cut down on mosquito eggs, wild bird droppings and other fouling debris in the water. In hot weather, water may need to be refreshed every day or even multiple times a day. Every couple of weeks or so, you may need to clean the birdbath with a scrub brush to get rid of any buildup.
If you live in a cold area where the temperature drops to freezing, don’t fill up the birdbath, as the water will freeze and damage it. Wild birds tend to mostly use the birdbath in the summer or very dry times of the year, not in the winter.