We've had a standard RSPB bird bath in the garden but it's not getting much use (some birds do use it but nothing spectacular). Having seen Yas's videos from her bird bath we decided to get a solar powered bird bath with running water as the sound of the water running may encourage our garden visitors to use the facility.
I've had a look here: http://www.britishbirdlovers.co.uk/bird-baths/buy-solar-powered-bird-baths and seen a variety of types and models but I am not sure what to get so your advice will be very welcomed, particularly in the following issues:
1. Size / depth of basin for optimal use by the birdies,
2. Number of jets (if that is of importance),
3. Heating necessary? Is that separate or some models/makes come with it?
4. Is the height of the stand important, if so how tall should it be?
5. Anybody is using one and can recommend?
And finally, important questions I forgot to ask?
Thanks in anticipation of your replies and advice!
"Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way." John Muir
I bought the tiered solar fountain and my mum has the same one. The bottom level is quite deep so I have put some pebbles in the basin just covering approx a quarter of the width of it. I am really pleased with it. I have seen Blue tits, Great tits, Chaffinches, Siskins, Robins, Goldfinches, Blackbirds, Thrushes, Starlings, Green finches, Wood pigeons, Magpies, Woodpeckers all drinking from it. I thought the small blue tits would use the top level for bathing but they love the pebbles in the lower section. The Robins and Starlings bathe in both sections. Blackbirds and Thrushes like the lower section where it is deeper (no pebbles). I have seen 4 starlings in lower and 2 in top at the same time all bathing. I also have a plastic dish on the ground with a small solar pump, and I have a plastic barrel with pebbles and solar pump which the Blackbirds, Thrushes, Starlings and Tits all use as well but they don't seem to like the spray head on the fountain pump and refuse to go near them until I take the spray head off and leave it just bubbling over. I have the bronze RSPB bird bath but found it too deep and only Starlings used it or Woodpigeons wallowing in it for half an hour making it dusty, so it's now in the garage. I have a heavy stone bath which is shallow so I cant put a solar pump in it and it is a nightmare to keep clean. The tiered fountain is polyresin so easy to clean, and its nice to look at and listen too even if there are no birds in it. I bought mine from Primrose.co.uk its called "Imperial round tiered solar fountain".
In reply to Crow Lady:
Hi Marina, I don't have a solar powered bird bath, but I do have a mains powered water feature called 'Babbling Boulders'. Wendy Bartter has one of these too. I purchased mine back in 2013 and other than the odd hour or two when it has been dismantled for cleaning, it has been running non-stop since April 2013. Many bird species from Wrens through to Fielfares have used it. I have added a short clip of a BT using it.
Unicum arbustum haud alit duos erithacos
(One bush does not shelter two Robins)
Zenodotus (3rd Century B.C.)
In reply to monkeycheese:
Clip is lovely thank you. I checked this one out, if its the same Guardman brand then it's discontinued but I did find some lovely realistic looking ones in similar lines. Ideally I would prefer something that could be placed in the middle of the lawn near the feeder (hence the solar power request). More cleaning to do this way but it's safer to avoid corners near the buildings in our garden due to our cats. They don't hunt and they are used to birdies (last year we saw over 70 using the garden for support in the breeding season and they all made it fine) but I don't want to provoke fate, if you know what I mean.
Crow lady you have this model? (I did see it on the net) I take it you are happy with it? I see the birdies are. Any info on its performance will be welcome as I have only read the marketing literature. Does it work as intended?
In reply to Marina P:
Marina, I am really pleased with fountain. I searched the net, video, forums and youtube before deciding which one to get. It only took a couple of minutes to put the pump in and fill with water and put solar panel in sun. I haven't touched the pump since the first time. To clean the fountain, I take out my pebbles and rinse them in kitchen sink. I tried gravel first but they were a nightmare to clean. I just tip the fountain to slosh the water out and use a washing up brush just to remove any dirt or green algae. A quick rinse with a bottle of water or hose pipe and it's ready to be filled up again. I bought mine this February and it was out in the ice cold weather but still worked if there was sunshine. It's heavy enough with water not to blow over but light enough to tip water out for cleaning. If the pump or solar panel dies in the near future it can easily be replaced cheaply. The fountain itself is quite robust and should last a long time. I have a link showing how to install it (I think USA version but same thing really) and a clip of my mums one in action with birds. Blue tit having a drink, Blackbird having a bath in the deep part and a Great tit hopping onto the pebbles about to have a bath when it got spooked.
Cannot save clip
View Crash Report
Great, thanks for the info. It's now included in the final three. Seen one that I really like but as usual the American model (which is not generally available in the UK) is much better as it has the option of electrical charger for the battery in cloudy days and considerably cheaper.
Thanks Crow Lady, I did a bit of research when I wanted to buy my own solar feature. Primrose.co.uk don't have the same model you bought until October, so I paid a little bit more to buy what looks identical from waterfeatures2go.co.uk (www.waterfeatures2go.co.uk/solar-powered-classical-tier-water-feature-0610373927318.html) With their office being in Huddersfield, it is close for me if there was any defects so worth paying that bit more. There aren't however and after less than a week it is a regular drinking hole and bath for my garden birds with the tits, blackbirds, starlings, chaffinches and gold finches all regularly visiting.
What I will would say to people though is that they are very close to the ground, so mine is actually on top of an old stone bird bath column to give it more elevation. Also, the solar pump only works in direct sunlight or very bright cloudy conditions. As you can see from the pics the birds love it so I recommend this as money well spent
In reply to JackSparrow:
Glad you like it :) I love it when you get 6 or 7 Starlings all splashing in both sections. I've had a fat Wood Pigeon in my bottom section which was a tight squeeze, but really funny as it lifted up it's wing to let the water drop all down under the wing and then turned around to do the other side. The young Magpies like to play in it and perch on the ball on the top. But my favourite is the sweet little Blue Tit when it disappears in the bottom section on the pebbles, and pops it head up to look around.
I also have a battery back up solar pump with panel for mine which is about £25 from Primrose. It stores the sun power and you can run it for 4 hours. Luckily the connection leads are the same so I can use my normal one on a sunny day and when it goes grey or shady I can just switch the square solar panel. Both panels run the same pump. It also comes with a light with 4 LED'S that you can plug into the panel, which for the first time the other night we sat out on the patio around 9pm and had the fountain running and the light just sitting in the bottom section which was really nice.
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654
Accepting all non-essential cookies helps us to personalise your experience
These cookies are required for basic web functions
Allow us to collect anonymised performance data
Allow us to personalise your experience