The main aim of your bird bath is to attract birds to your garden, so above all it must be enticing to them. Consider the needs of the types of birds you are hoping to attract. Small birds will appreciate a narrow lip on which to perch and a slightly rough surface to provide a secure grip. They will also prefer to be able to look down from the bath to keep an eye out for predators, so a pedestal bath is probably the best bet for these. Larger birds prefer to drink and bathe close to the ground.
While a simple bird bath is easy and cheaper to install, consider adding a fountain or other means to provide water movement in the bird bath. A water spray or bubbler will be appreciated by visiting birds and has the added benefit of reducing algae growth and unwanted insects in the bath. Solar powered fountains are an economical way to add a fountain to your bird bath.
Cleanliness is important for your bird bath as well. Just as we prefer fresh water, birds appreciate clean water for drinking and bathing. A bird bath with ornate mosaic tiling will be difficult to keep clean, for example.
If you live in a cool or cold climate, you may need to consider providing heating for your bird bath to prevent the water from freezing. Alternatively those of us lucky enough to live in a climate zone where winter is not a problem will probably need to consider how to cope with increased evaporation from the bath in the summer. Making sure your bird bath has a large capacity will help overcome this particular problem.
So consider these points carefully before you make your choice and you’ll find your local bird population will thank you by putting in many appearances in just your back yard!