Do Hummingbirds Enjoy Bird Baths? 20 Tips for Creating a Hummingbird Oasis

Written by Heather Hall
Updated: November 15, 2023
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Quick Answer:

  • Yes, hummingbirds enjoy bird baths!
  • Hummingbirds use birdbaths for grooming purposes and to spread oil on their feathers for protection and efficient flight.

Key Points

  • Hummingbirds typically grow to between 3 and 5 inches in length and weigh between 2 and 6 grams.
  • They can beat their wings as many as 80 times per second, allowing them to hover in the air or fly backward.
  • When choosing a bird bath for hummingbirds, opt for bright colors, shallow water, misting or fountain features, dripping water, and perches.

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on creating a hummingbird oasis! In this article, we explore the intriguing question of whether hummingbirds enjoy bird baths. With 20 expert tips and insights, we delve into all aspects of designing an inviting habitat for these enchanting creatures. Get ready to transform your backyard into a haven that hummingbirds will love to visit!

What is a Hummingbird?

Velvet Purple Coronet

The tiny hummingbird is a beautiful and fascinating creature.

©Martin Mecnarowski/Shutterstock.com

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Hummingbirds are small birds that are renowned for their ability to rapidly flutter their wings. They are native to the Americas and have many unique physical characteristics.

Hummingbirds typically grow to between 3 and 5 inches in length and weigh between 2 and 6 grams. They have short, straight bills and long, narrow wings. Their feathers come in a variety of colors, ranging from iridescent greens and blues to browns and black.

Hummingbirds can beat their wings as many as 80 times per second, allowing them to hover in the air or fly backward. Their wings can make a humming sound that gives them their name. They also have the ability to fly at speeds up to 34 miles per hour.

Hummingbirds have long, thin legs and feet that are ideal for perching. They have long, forked tongues that enable them to feed on nectar from flowers. They also have powerful eyesight that helps them find food and avoid predators.

Hummingbirds are known for their bright colors and energetic flight patterns. They are the smallest of all bird species, and they have a variety of unique physical features that help them survive in their environment.

Do Hummingbirds Enjoy Bird Baths?

Anna's hummingbird playing in water fountain taking a bath, water shooting straight up with trees in background.

Preening using water is important for hummingbirds to stay clean and healthy.

©Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock.com

Yes, hummingbirds do enjoy bird baths. Hummingbirds are not only attracted to the vibrant colors of flowers and the sweet nectar they provide but also to bird baths. While many birds visit bird baths primarily to quench their thirst, hummingbirds have a unique relationship with water. Although they do not drink much plain water, as their hydration and nutrition mainly come from the nectar they consume, these tiny creatures still need access to clean water for other essential purposes.

Grooming is an integral part of a bird’s life, and hummingbirds are no exception. Contrary to what some may think, grooming is not about vanity for these exquisite creatures. It serves vital functions in maintaining their well-being. A birdbath offers a convenient space for hummingbirds to cleanse debris and residue from their delicate feathers. As they flutter around in the bathwater or gently dip themselves into its shimmering surface, they effectively rid themselves of dirt that might accumulate during their high-energy flights.

Moreover, bathing in a bird bath allows hummingbirds to spread the oil produced by their preen gland throughout their bodies. This natural oil acts as a protective coating on each individual feather strand, enhancing its durability and flexibility while simultaneously repelling excess moisture.

By evenly distributing oil through preening, hummingbirds can stay warm during colder periods and fly more efficiently.

Beyond hygiene considerations, offering a bird bath provides additional benefits for keeping their tiny bodies cool. Getting wet helps hummingbirds lower their body temperatures on hot summer days.

How To Pick The Right Bird Bath for Hummingbirds

Hummingbird Taking a Bath in an Outside Fountain with Foliage in the Background

Gently trickling or dripping water is very attractive to hummingbirds.

©Sydneymills/Shutterstock.com

Brightly Colored

Hummingbirds are drawn to bright colors, especially red and orange since it often indicates there is nectar nearby. Therefore, using a brightly-colored bird bath will likely attract them and keep them around. However, it isn’t necessary to use a red bath. Any bright color, including stone, metallic, or concrete, will work too. Just make sure to add some colorful flowers close by to draw the hummingbirds in.

Shallow Water

When designing a hummingbird oasis in your garden, it is important to pick a bird bath that is shallow. Hummingbirds are very small and can easily be overwhelmed by a regular bird bath. To make a regular bird bath more suitable for hummingbirds, add stones, gravel, or rocks to the bottom to create a shallower area and a less slippery surface.

Misting Feature

When setting up a mister near a plant, position it close so that the birds can rub their bodies against the wet leaves. The sound of the mister will draw in hummingbirds, as well as the dewy, sparkling leaves. If the water flow is low enough, the birds may even use the mister for direct bathing. To make this easier, you can add misting sprinkler heads to your existing sprinkler system, but make sure the water flow is gentle enough for the hummingbirds to use.

Fountain Feature

Hummingbirds can particularly benefit from having a fountain in their birdbath. The shallow areas of a fountain, such as lips and ledges, provide the perfect spot for them to rest and splash around in the water. You will see them hover near the flowing water and dip their wings in to get wet.

Dripping Water

Hummingbirds are attracted to the gentle flow of water from drippers placed near rocks or foliage. This allows them to bathe either directly under the water source or by rubbing against a wet object. The sound of the dripper will lure the birds in, so if you’re looking to create a hummingbird oasis, definitely consider dripping water.

Add a Perch

When selecting a bird bath for hummingbirds, make sure there are places for them to perch. These places can be on trees, shrubs, and even on clotheslines. Birds use these perches for many things, like climbing, courting, and grooming. It is important to provide multiple perches to give the birds more options for resting.

Bird Bath For Hummingbirds β€” Where to Place Them

Rufous Hummingbird dancing in the bird bath

As you can see, hummingbirds enjoy a cool dip on a hot day.

©Birdiegal/Shutterstock.com

Hummingbirds will be more likely to come to your birdbath if it is placed at the right height β€” no more than two feet off the ground. You can even place a basin directly on the ground for hummingbirds to use. The frogs will love it too!

Additionally, they need access to a shady place in order to cool down on hot summer days and also an area that does not receive too much sun so that the water does not evaporate quickly. If you want to install electric water features, such as fountains or drippers, make sure they are close enough to a power source. If not, look for solar-powered options.

Bird Bath For Hummingbirds β€” How to Clean Them

Side view of glass birdbath with solar powered fountain for garden

A bird bath like this one, with moving water, perches, bright colors, and shallow water, is ideal for hummingbirds.

©Bobbie23/Shutterstock.com

In order to create a welcoming oasis for hummingbirds, it is crucial to maintain clean and sanitary bird baths. Regardless of the type of bird, following these best practices will help keep your birdbaths pristine.

Firstly, it is important to regularly empty basins, clean them thoroughly, and then refill them. Standing water can quickly become dirty due to various factors, such as leaves or debris falling into the bath. Therefore, replacing the water more frequently than anticipated is essential for ensuring its cleanliness.

Furthermore, make it a habit to routinely inspect all water feature accessories for any issues that may arise. Clogs or malfunctions in the system can not only prevent proper functioning but also deter birds from visiting your bird bath altogether. By identifying and addressing such problems promptly, you can ensure an optimal bathing experience for hummingbirds and other feathered visitors.

After rainstorms, be mindful to check that the water levels do not rise excessively in the bird bath. This overflow may repel hummingbirds or pose potential risks if they were to accidentally get trapped in rising waters.

When it comes to keeping a hummingbird bath clean, it is important to avoid any dangerous chemicals, such as bleach, which can be hazardous for these small birds. To clean the bird bath, mix nine parts water with one part vinegar and use it to rinse and scrub the surface. It is best to avoid detergents and soaps as they can take away the essential oils from the feathers. Lastly, make sure to change the water every other day to prevent it from becoming stagnant.

Keep the Hummingbirds Safe

Cat stalking bird

House cats seem harmless, but they are invasive species and very harmful to the ecosystem if allowed outdoors.

©Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova/Shutterstock.com

To keep hummingbirds safe from potential predators, it is important to choose a spot in your yard that does not get a lot of foot traffic. Plant some foliage nearby so hummingbirds can hide if they feel threatened by cats, snakes, or other animals. Additionally, it is important to check the area regularly for any signs of predators or threats.

If you have cats or other pets in your yard, it is important to keep them away from the bird bath. If the cats cannot be managed, consider setting up a special area for the hummingbirds with a netting or fence to keep cats out.

Hummingbirds are naturally wary, so try to minimize noise and activity around the bird bath. By limiting potential threats to hummingbirds, you can ensure their safety.

Finally, if you have a garden, consider adding some flowers that will attract hummingbirds. Not only will this provide them with a food source, but it will also give them an area to safely rest and feed. Additionally, the flowers will provide some protection from potential predators.

20 Tips to Create a Hummingbird Oasis

Selective focus of Fuchsia magellanica, Red pink flower in the garden, Hummingbird fuchsia or hardy fuchsia is a species of flowering plant in the family Evening Primrose family, Floral background.

Step number one in hummingbird attraction is planting nectar-rich flowers.

©Wut_Moppie/Shutterstock.com

  1. Install a hummingbird feeder with sugar water.
  2. Plant a variety of flowers, such as columbine, bee balm, petunias, and honeysuckle.
  3. Place the feeder and flowers near a window so you can watch the hummingbirds.
  4. Choose feeders with multiple feeding ports so more hummingbirds can feed at once.
  5. Put your feeder in a sunny spot, but make sure it’s in the shade during the hottest part of the day.
  6. Hang the feeder at least five feet off the ground.
  7. Choose plants with different bloom times so there is food available throughout the season.
  8. Plant native plants that will attract hummingbirds.
  9. Provide multiple water sources, such as birdbaths, misters, and drippers.
  10. Include plants that provide nectar, such as lantana, salvias, penstemon, and fuchsia.
  11. Install perches near the feeder and flowers so the hummingbirds can rest.
  12. Plant trees and shrubs for shelter and protection.
  13. Make sure the garden is free of pesticides and other chemicals.
  14. Plant a variety of grasses and other plants to provide cover and nesting materials.
  15. Place birdhouses in the garden to attract nesting hummingbirds. They are not cavity nesters but will sometimes use gourd-shaped houses made from woven grasses.
  16. Hang wind chimes in the garden to attract hummingbirds with their sound.
  17. Place birdbaths in a sunny spot so the hummingbirds can bathe and drink.
  18. Add a variety of flowers to the garden, such as lilies, impatiens, and daisies.
  19. Fence off an area especially for hummingbirds so predatory cats cannot get inside.
  20. Keep the bird bath or water source clean and germ-free.

Summary Table

Tip NumberTip
1Use a brightly-colored bird bath to attract hummingbirds.
2Ensure the bird bath is shallow to accommodate the small size of hummingbirds.
3Set up a mister near a plant for the hummingbirds to rub their bodies against the wet leaves.
4Include a fountain feature in the bird bath for hummingbirds to rest and splash around in the water.
5Use a dripper to create a gentle flow of water that attracts hummingbirds.
6Provide perches for the hummingbirds to rest.
7Place the bird bath at the right height, no more than two feet off the ground.
8Ensure the bird bath is in a shady place to provide a cool spot for hummingbirds on hot days.
9If using electric water features, ensure they are close to a power source.
10Regularly clean the bird bath to maintain a welcoming environment for the hummingbirds.
11Empty and refill the bird bath regularly to prevent the water from becoming dirty.
12Regularly inspect all water feature accessories for any issues.
13After rainstorms, check the water levels in the bird bath.
14Avoid using dangerous chemicals when cleaning the bird bath.
15Change the water every other day to prevent it from becoming stagnant.
16Choose a spot in your yard that does not get a lot of foot traffic to keep hummingbirds safe.
17Plant some foliage near the bird bath for hummingbirds to hide if they feel threatened.
18Keep pets away from the bird bath.
19Minimize noise and activity around the bird bath.
20Add flowers to your garden that will attract hummingbirds.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Birdiegal/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

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