It’s not that most birdbaths look bad…it’s just that they don’t match the style of a mid-century or modern home. So what are us bird-loving MCM fans to do?
I tracked down these modern birdbaths that satisfy thirsty birds as well as picky homeowners. Plus, I’m sharing some tips to make any birdbath safer and more appealing for our feathered friends.
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White Hanging Birdbath
Made by Eva Solo of Denmark, this option is full of Danish modern cuteness. If you choose a hanging birdbath and feel that it’s swaying too much, try adding some river rocks to weigh it down for extra stability.
This seafoam birdbath offers a new take on the classic pedestal design. The profile is simple for us minimalists, and the petal cutouts add Scandi details along the bottom. Just the right amount of whimsy!
At 21 inches tall, this pedestal is compact. Sunnydaze is running low on the seafoam color, but hopefully they will have more in stock soon.
Black Staked Birdbath
In beautiful black, this birdbath has a contemporary look that won’t distract from your showstopping flowers. I’ve heard that staked birdbaths can get knocked out of place by eager birds, but placing some rocks around the base will add stability. The bowl detaches for easy cleanup.
Gray “Stone-Look” Birdbath
This is the birdbath I chose, and naturally I think it’s the perfect mid-century modern option. The textured rectangles around the outside are reminiscent of retro breeze blocks. And the gray and white speckles have a stone look that is similar to the vintage speckled dishes I’m always looking for at antique stores.
You can hang this in a tree or remove the chain and place the bowl at ground level.
Heated Turquoise Birdbath
Some birds stick around through the winter, and they still need a safe place to drink and bathe. I’ve seen people use string lights to offer warmth near their birdbaths. You can also get a heated birdbath designed for overwintering birdies. This one is simply gorgeous in turquoise or orange.
Where to Place a Birdbath
Shade: Full shade is ideal if possible, especially in hot regions. A shady spot will slow down evaporation and keep the water temperature cooler.
Strategic Cover: This part’s tricky. You want to give the birds a safe place to flee to if a predator shows up, but not so much cover that a predator could be hiding out nearby. A deciduous tree works well, if it’s at least 10 feet from dense shrubs like rhododendrons (aka cat disguisers).
Ground and Air: In addition to pedestal and hanging birdbaths, you might want to provide a ground-level option to attract more wildlife and ground-feeding birds. Check out the little ones enjoying a drink and bath underneath my hydrangea in these two photos. I also caught a 5-second video here. So cute!
Water Access: Choose a location that isn’t too far from your hose, to make it easy to refill and clean the birdbath regularly.
Important Additions to Your Birdbath
Various Depths: Different birds need different depths of water, from 1 to 3 inches according to this helpful book by the National Wildlife Federation. It’s best to have a gradually sloping birdbath so your visitors can wade in to their preferred depth. With a flat birdbath, you can add rocks to create different depths.
Escape Route: Make sure that anyone who accidentally slips into your birdbath has a way out, especially if you pick one with a tall border like mine. Mossy sticks create a natural look and offer an easy exit for smaller creatures like bumble bees.
Texture: Birds don’t like slipping around in a glossy bowl. If your birdbath isn’t naturally textured like stone, try adding rocks or sticks that birds can perch on.
Moving Water (Nice to Have): This isn’t required, but some visitors — especially hummingbirds — prefer moving water. You can get a water fountain to attract them. Solar fountains are affordable but they need direct sun, so you might want to use them in a larger water feature that won’t overheat too fast.
How to Clean a Birdbath
Observe your birdbath to see how often it needs fresh water. The Audubon Society suggests refilling birdbaths every other day. I’ve noticed some of my shallow birdbaths need more water daily.
In addition to keeping the water fresh, it’s important to occasionally clean the birdbath with a mixture of nine parts water to one part vinegar. Try an eco-friendly dish scrubber to remove any grime.
More Modern Birdbath Ideas
If you prefer the DIY route, it’s easy to make your own birdbath. Just pick a durable platter or plant saucer and add water. I have a gray platter with river rocks as my ground-level birdbath, and it’s getting daily action.
You might also like these pretty DIY birdbaths from other sites:
And for the ultimate mid-century throwback, you could start a flock of pink flamingo birdbaths.