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On / In Ground Birdbaths

Of all the birdbath styles on-ground baths most closely resemble natural sources of water. They therefore get more action than any other type of bath. Woodpeckers, for instance, are unable to perch on the rims of pedestal baths (unless the rim is especially wide) due to the two-toes-forward and two-toes-back design of their feet. On-ground birdbaths are ideal for them.  It’s quite a sight to see these birds land nearby on the ground and hop on over to the bath. Thrashers, towhees and cardinals are ground feeding birds by nature and therefore feel right at home in a ground level bath.

in ground birdbath

Baths designed to placed on the ground are easy to install and are popular with a wide variety of species.

Smaller birds, such as warblers, probably feel safer in a ground level bath since they can easily jump back to the security of the ground. It’s important that the inner surface of the bath not be too slick so the birds have a secure footing (think of yourself in a slippery bathtub.).

For an alternative to buying a ready-made on-ground bath, you can secure a upside-down garbage can lid in a depression in the ground or use an attractive terra-cotta saucer. With a little landscaping these inexpensive alternatives can be made to look very natural and attractive at a very low cost.

A ground level birdbath, with dripper or waterfall, may be the best way to encourage more and different birds to visit your yard.

You need to know…

  • Freezing water can damage on-ground baths, but they are generally less likely to be damaged than concrete or metal birdbaths.
  •  Dripper lines to the baths can be damaged in freezing weather.
  •  Most commercial ground-level birdbaths are resin-based and maintain an attractive appearance for a long time.
  •  They are generally easy to clean and maintain.


Birding Quick Hits

Blue Jays do Johnny Appleseed one better.  After the retreat of the last ice age, oak trees spread back north faster than might have been expected.  There is speculation that Blue Jays helped the process by caching acorns underground, some of which grew into new trees.