Updated at: 06-06-2023 - By: Jane Brody

Birds may be reluctant to use any bird bath, but in a time of crisis they are much more likely to use a hanging bird bath.

When birds need to swiftly replenish their fluids or wash their feathers, they appreciate hanging bird baths. Birds feel more secure bathing in a hanging bird bath because of its elevated position. Bird baths that are hung are susceptible to movement in the wind and can only be used by little birds because they aren’t stable enough for larger birds.

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Making sure a hanging bird bath is visible to passers-by is essential if you want a variety of birds to utilize it.

Although not all birds will bathe in it and many may opt to use your bird feeders instead, it is still important to have a bird bath available at all times and in a visible location, which is especially true when utilizing a hanging design.

Birds are attracted to bird baths with running water, so making sure the water is visible from above and considering utilizing a solar-powered fountain are both essential.

If you choose, you can hang a bird bath in a shady area of your yard, but it should still be visible to, or frequented by, the birds you’re trying to attract.

Keep in mind that the leaves of the branch the bird bath is hung from, or muck that falls off the roof of a garden structure the bracket of the bird bath is affixed to, can contaminate the water in the bird bath.

The footage shows Chickadees and American Goldfinches bathing in a hanging bird bath, which clearly sways in the wind or under the birds’ weight.

One drawback of using a hanging bird bath, or any type for that matter, is that it can be easily blown around by the wind.

An anchor can help keep a hanging bird bath in place during storms, but you should still choose a location that isn’t subject to strong winds.

Keep in mind that the basin used in a hanging bird bath is typically smaller than those used in other types of bird baths. So, it’s probably safe to assume that only little birds will be able to utilize your hanging bird bath.

Birds attracted to hanging baths

A hanging bird bath can be useful for attracting a wider variety of birds than would be attracted to a bird bath placed in the open, in the middle of your garden landscaping.

In fact, I would venture to claim that a hanging bird bath is more likely to attract wild birds due to its elevated placement and increased sense of safety.

Birds will use either a hanging or a freestanding bird bath, but its placement is still crucial.

Post it somewhere visible; the shade is ideal, but direct sunlight won’t hurt either.

In an ideal world, the bird bath would be hung near a hedgerow, over some plants, or even against some ivy that was crawling up the side of the house.

Plants might entice birds because of the insects they provide, or birds may seek shelter in a hedgerow or under a tree.

Although there are limitations to where a hanging bird bath can be placed, if you find a spot that meets all the criteria listed above, many different species of birds are likely to start using it.

Can limit to small birds

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A hanging bird bath can only be so wide in order to provide the necessary clearance from the wall or post its bracket is affixed on, thus unfortunately they are not particularly spacious.

Small birds will be the only ones permitted to drink from your new hanging bird bath.

If you’ve been keeping tabs on the avian visitors to your backyard and have confirmed that only little birds make the trip, this is just what you’ve been looking for.

If you have a lot of larger birds visiting your yard, such blue jays or northern cardinals, a hanging bird bath may be too little for them.

This Black-Capped Chickadee is proof that hanging bird baths are popular among avian species; it is eagerly drinking from the hummingbird feeder suspended from the ceiling.

It’s possible that these birds can and do use small hanging bird baths, but you probably shouldn’t encourage them to do so. Birds are less likely to use a bird bath than they are to feed from a feeder, so you’re better off providing for a wider variety of birds.

For the sake of stability, most hanging bird baths are constructed using two chains, with three or four points of connection at each corner.

Larger birds may have trouble landing and taking off safely from a hanging bird bath since they only have a foot or less of perching space on the rim.

Movement can be issue

Even more so during the dry summer months, birds will flock to your visible hanging bird bath.

Yet, the bird bath will inevitably be disturbed by a gust of wind at some point during the year.

Hanging bird baths include three or four places of attachment to prevent the structure from collapsing, and the length of the chains or ropes used to suspend the bath are arranged in such a way as to prevent twisting.

The hanging bird bath will still sway back and forth in even the lightest breeze, however.

Bolder, less cautious birds will drink from a rocking bird bath despite the potential dangers.

Larger birds, in particular, may have trouble landing on a swaying hanging bird bath, but smaller birds benefit from the stability of the bath just as much when they come to bathe or drink from the water bowl.

The dangling bird bath is not a tree branch, but birds can settle on these and other moving objects in nature.

If you don’t want your hanging bird bath to rock, you can secure it to the wall or a post with a second rope, which you can arrange horizontally.

Higher position is safer

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A hanging bird bath has the advantage of being able to hang from a considerable height, which is something that a bird bath mounted on a stand or spike is unable to do.

Although the hanging bird bath is out of reach, it is still high enough that it can be cleaned and refilled twice weekly to keep the birds safe from potential predators.

A bird bath that is hung up provides a sense of security for passing birds.

Do not hang a bird bath from the ceiling of a shed or other outbuilding if doing so would reduce the clearing above to the point that the bird bath would be more easily accessible from above than from below.

Cats waiting in the shadows to pounce on a bird as it flies up and away from it after bathing or drinking is an example of this strategy.

Because they aren’t as mobile as bird baths on stands, hanging bird baths are often confined to a single, fixed location, with just the rare need for a backup.

As much as birds enjoy hanging bird baths in the garden, the correct placement is crucial.

To summarize

Birds are attracted to hanging bird baths because the opportunity to bathe from a greater height is appealing to them.

Consequently, it takes more time for wild birds to access the water to bathe, suggesting that they prefer a peaceful, undisturbed environment in which to rehydrate.

This is guaranteed by hanging bird baths if the same guidelines for placing a bird bath are adhered to as with any other type of bird bath.

Unfortunately, smaller, more frequent backyard birds can’t use hanging bird baths because they aren’t very large.

A greater number of chickadees and robins, and fewer cardinals and blue jays.

A hanging bird bath is more susceptible to weather-related problems than a stand-alone bird bath since it can be rocked or swayed by the slightest breeze.

In this case, many birds may be scared away, but that doesn’t mean the nimbler ones can’t land on the moving object.

Birds like hanging bird baths in times of extreme drought because they allow them to be seen while yet providing the necessary cover provided by nearby foliage.

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