Just like us humans, wild birds need water to survive. Here at Kennedy Wild Bird Food, we commonly get asked questions about birds and water by our fellow bird-enthusiasts, from “do birds need water?” to “how much water do they really need?” 

In this guide, we’ll take you through all there is to know about the relationship between birds and water, so that you can take care of the feathered friends in your garden in the best possible way.

Do birds drink water? 

The straightforward answer to that question is yes! Birds need to have access to a constant supply of fresh, clean water throughout the year. Water plays a key role in a bird’s health for both drinking and bathing.

birds bathing in water

Why do birds need water?

The same way we like to maintain a good appearance, birds rely on water to keep their feathers in the best condition possible, particularly as their feathers play a big part in body insulation during the colder nights of the year. Birds also use water to wash down the food they consume (especially during winter, when their diet is usually drier and not as easy to swallow). 

Providing drinking water for birds in summer and winter is very important. During the winter months, natural sources are often frozen meaning birds can’t drink from them, and during hot summer weather water is often sparse.

How much water do birds drink in a day?

Unlike humans, birds do not have sweat glands which means that they lose far less water than us. However, birds still lose a considerable amount and smaller birds (such as blue tits and robins) can drink up to twice a day to replace lost water.

Many birds drink water by dipping their bill in the water and throwing their head back to gulp it down. Birds like pigeons and doves are able to drink in a continuous fashion due to their ability to immerse their beaks completely.

Providing safe bathing water for birds

Just like drinking, bathing is crucial for the maintenance of the bird’s feathers. In order for a bird to have healthy, strong feathers, the birds need to get wet. Bathing allows the feather to be kept free of dirt and ensures the preservation of their wonderful, natural lustre. 

Each bird’s preference as to the time of the day differs from one to another. However, we recommend that birds should be offered fresh bathing water daily. Some garden birds may bathe every day, while others may prefer to bathe occasionally.

water for birds in summer

You could purchase a birdbath for your garden or make your own from a bucket or shallow sink! As long as the water source is replaced daily, the birds will love it. It’s also important to clean your birdbath weekly to remove any layers of algae, dead leaves or even bird droppings left behind.

Feeding the birds in your garden

If you’ve got a clean water source for the birds in your garden, you’ll likely want to provide them with a fresh food source, too! Our bird feeders fit perfectly alongside birdbaths for the ultimate bird-friendly garden, and they can be filled with their favourite wild bird foods.