If you want to attract a particular type of bird to your yard, you should research that species to determine whether a stand-alone bird bath or one mounted at a higher level is necessary.
Attracting more backyard birds in the United States can be done with or without an elevated bird bath. Birds that normally forage in the trees may drink or bathe from the ground more frequently in backyard bird baths since this more closely mimics their foraging behavior in the wild. The use of bird baths at ground level would be reduced.
The only way to find out if your bird bath has to be elevated is to experiment, which may take many months.
In my opinion, a raised bird bath design is superior to a traditional ground-level one.
Because most backyard visitors are perch-feeding birds, they are mimicking a natural behavior when they drink or bathe in the wild.
If you want birds that browse in trees to use the bird bath you put out on the lawn, you need provide for them.
If you don’t have a lot of ground-feeding birds in your yard, you shouldn’t expect much use from a ground-level bird bath.
The finest kind of bird bath to install depends on the species of birds you already have in your yard. A ground bird bath, for instance, would be the only option for attracting only Northern Cardinals.
A ground bird bath eliminates the need to decide between two unsatisfactory options. A bird bath mounted on a stand achieves the same effect by providing the necessary height.
Elevation attracts more species
Although it’s not strictly necessary, I’ve seen that bird baths that are raised off the ground get more use.
It’s no surprise that the birds who frequent my backyard are the same ones that gravitate toward higher ground when feeding in the wild, as their thirst and cleanliness needs are likely to be similar.
Birds that prefer to perch on the ground will be most comfortable using a bird bath that is placed on the ground, but this does not mean that they cannot use a bird bath that is placed on a stand or that is hung from the ceiling.
Bird baths that are hung from the ceiling or placed in close proximity to barriers that make landing and taking flight difficult for less nimble birds serve the same purpose.
Some of the higher foraging species may not be able to reach the ground, so an elevated bird bath may be necessary, but that doesn’t mean other birds won’t use it if they find themselves in need.
The elevated nature of bird baths on pedestals makes them more noticeable than their hanging counterparts, increasing the likelihood that they will be used by passing birds.
Ground bird baths are limited
While many of you will profit from installing a bird bath on the ground, keep in mind that only specific species of birds will actually utilize such a bath if you put it there.
An open ground bird bath can attract more problem birds and provide a water source for larger animals and common garden pests.
Bird baths placed on the ground are very useful for people who observe more Blackbirds or Northern Cardinals than, say, Chickadees, Orioles, or Goldfinches in their yards.
It’s a good idea to install a bird bath at ground level if it fits in with the style of your garden and your backyard environment.
The use of a single bird bath location is fine, but if you want to attract a wider variety of birds, you might want to consider using an elevated bird bath design.
Even though ground bird baths are typically exclusively visited by ground-feeding birds, they occasionally surprise their visitors with something very beautiful.
Birds feel safer higher up
If I limit my analysis to the species most commonly seen in American backyards, I find that majority of them are birds that forage in treetops or other high locations.
Birds are naturally adapted to browse in trees and other vertical environments, so you’ll never find them foraging on the ground.
Similarly, most backyard birds prefer to eat from bird feeders that are suspended from a bird feeding station or a bracket.
With this in mind, it’s not surprising that an elevated bird bath has a better chance of attracting birds that will actually utilize it.
A bird bath bowl that is meant to sit on the ground is less likely to attract birds than one that is perched on a stand or hangs from a bracket.
Feeding higher up in the wild isn’t a choice made out of a sense of security for the birds, but those who prefer to feed on the ground will have no problem with your low-hanging bird bath. If they have no choice but to use your high ground to wash or drink from, at least you’re providing a safe haven.
Easier to keep clean
A person’s physical condition is a good indicator of whether or not a bird bath has to be raised.
Elevating a bird bath to waist or even chest level might be helpful for people who have trouble bending and leaning, such as the elderly.
The number of typical backyard birds that visit your bird bath may decrease as a result, but at least you’ll be able to keep up with changing the water and cleaning it twice or three times a week.
Pedestal bird baths are still only two to three feet high, so some stooping is still required. In contrast, a bird bath perched on the ground necessitates a kneeling or stooping position for maintenance.
While it is not necessary to elevate a bird bath, a ground-level bird bath also need not be flat on the ground.
Then, using things you find in the yard, raise the bird bath off the ground so it is still within reach, but not as vulnerable.
Many birds will drink from a bird bath that is simply placed on the lawn or patio, so there’s no need to put it on a pedestal.
In fact, if you have a lot of ground-feeding birds as visitors, they may not use the bird bath as often if it is on a stand because they lack the dexterity or are too large to use it safely.
Most birds can use a bird bath on the ground, but those that browse from a perch find it more convenient to utilize one that is elevated.
Even so, when thirsty, no bird would be picky about what it drank.
Even if the position of the elevated bird bath is not ideal, many kinds of birds will be attracted to it because of its visibility from above.
A bird bath bowl should not be left on the ground if it is not in use; instead, it should be raised to a more secure and less likely to be damaged place.
Birds are more likely to utilize a bird bath that is placed higher off the ground, although this depends on the species of birds that frequent your yard.
Consider your own well-being and get a bird bath that sits higher off the ground if you can’t or don’t want to bend down to fill it.