Should A Bird Bath Be Positioned In The Sun Or Shade?

March 4, 2021 // 8 minutes read // 6 Shares

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Birds In A Bird Bath In The Sun

Are you trying to decide on the best place to position your new bird bath? Wondering should a bird bath be in the sun or shade? Instead of driving myself crazy trying to figure it out, I did the research and discovered the truth in all of its forms, which I’ll share with you now.

Many factors determine the best location to position a birdbath. In warmer climates, placing your birdbath in the shade keeps the water from evaporating. In colder locales, placing it directly in the sun warms the water for your feathered friends. Other factors include cleanliness, visibility, type, viewing, and further reasons covered in greater detail below.

And I have a lot more to say about these topics that include:

  • When to position a bird bath in the sun
  • When to position a bird bath in the shade
  • Other bird bath positioning considerations
  • How the type of bird bath influences this decision
  • Bird bath placement tips and best practices

Let’s dive into the heart of the matter right now…

Direct Sunlight: The Right Situation To Bathe Your Bird Bath In Sunshine

Certain situations require placing your birdbath directly in the path of the sun. The most obvious one is climate considerations in your location.

As an example, let’s say you live in the Northeast in the United States; somewhere in the New England region. With the exception of 2-3 months a year, the weather is either blisteringly cold or mild most of the time.

Placing your birdbath in direct sunlight is a great idea under these climate and weather conditions. For the most part, without the sun’s help, the water would remain chilly. And it might be too cold for the birds to truly appreciate and enjoy.

Plus, keeping your birdbath in direct sunlight might prevent the water from freezing when it starts to get cold. Your best bet is to install a heated birdbath for the winter, but the sun is an awesome source of heat and it will certainly help prevent freezing for a time until the temperature drops too low.

So, place your birdbath in direct sunlight. The sun will warm up the water and create a comfortable bathing experience for your favorite backyard birds.

And here’s another thing to consider…

Do you have a solar birdbath? If this is the case, you’ll need direct access to the sun to either power the device or charge the battery. Without direct sunlight, the bubbler, fountain, or nightlight might not work due to a lack of solar energy needed to power the device.

I’ll touch on the topic of “should a bird bath be in the sun or shade” in greater detail below.

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Hiding In The Shade: The Best Time To Tuck Your Bird Bath Away From The Sun

On the other hand, tucking your birdbath away in the shade is also a great idea in some situations. Most importantly, it makes a lot of sense to place it in the shade when you live in a particularly warm climate.

As an example, let’s say you live in Central Florida in the Orlando area. For those who aren’t from here, it’s very hot and humid roughly 6-7 months out of the year. And the other months are typically warm, although the temperature might drop into the 30s at night in November, December, or January.

Placing a birdbath in direct sunlight in Central Florida is a bad idea. Not only will the water evaporate very quickly, it will also get too hot and uncomfortable. Sure, the birds will be able to clean themselves, but in all likelihood, they won’t enjoy the experience.

Your fine feathered friends deserve better than that. They deserve to enjoy cool waters and a comfortable bathing experience whenever possible. So, take your birdbath out of the direct sunlight and place it in the shade to improve their comfort as much as possible.

Are There Other Factors To Consider When Positioning A Bird Bath?

Although deciding whether a birdbath should be positioned in the sun or shade is a major consideration, it’s far from the only one to keep in mind. Other potential factors to consider include the following:


Positioning your birdbath for cleanliness is of the utmost importance. Otherwise, you may accidentally place it under a tree with an abundance of leaves or directly underneath one or more of your bird feeders.

Guess what? It’s always wise to keep your birdbath away from trees. This will prevent seeds, blooms, leaves, and branches from falling in them and dirtying the water.


How does visibility factor into bird bath placement? Well, it’s going to be impossible for birds to use your bath if they have no idea that it’s there. Make sure you place it in plain sight so the birds in your local community know exactly where to find it.


Finally, you need to consider your personal wants and needs when positioning a birdbath.

What do I mean? Maybe you’d like to be able to see your birdbath from one or more of your windows without having to go outside. You’ll benefit by placing it close to your favorite window to deliver the best viewing experience.

This is really important and it’s something you really need to take into consideration. You bought this birdbath to provide cool and thirst-quenching water for your feathered friends. But you also deserve to get the most enjoyment possible, so keep your own wants and needs in mind throughout the placement process.

The Type Of Bird Bath: How It Influences Positioning Decisions

The type of birdbath is always a factor when it comes to positioning. We briefly touched upon solar bird baths already, and how they need direct access to sunlight to power the bubbler, heater, or lightbulb.

Think about it…

If you’ve ever spent any time learning about solar bird baths, you’ll know that on average they need around 6-8 hours of direct sunlight to power the fountain or light during the day or night.

Some of them even have rechargeable solar batteries. To get the most out of your rechargeable battery, your solar panel must sit directly in the sun’s path for many hours during the day. This guarantees that you’ll be able to keep the lightbulb running all night long. Or the fountain spouting and bubbling on a beautiful summer evening.

What about heated bird baths that run on electricity? You’ll need to place it close to an electrical power source in order to turn on the heater. Otherwise, you’ll have to run an extension cord across your backyard or front yard to provide the necessary power.

A hanging bird bath doesn’t work unless you have a tree, a backyard deck, or another structure to fasten it to. So, this type of bird bath depends tremendously upon its positioning and location if you’re going to get the most out of it.

Bird Bath Placement Tips & Best Practices

Like anything else, certain bird bath placement tips and best practices will enhance the overall experience for you and the birds. Even better, if you place yours correctly, it will become an attractive haven for local aerial wildlife in your hometown.

Some important tips and best practices to consider include:

  • Dappled or partial shade is a great idea – by partially placing your bath in the shade, you’ll make it easier to regulate the temperature of the water. This means the water isn’t going to be too hot or too cold at any given time. It also means the cool sparkling water will become much more attractive and inviting to your favorite birds.
  • Flower bed or garden placement makes perfect sense – as you know, birds love splashing around and spilling bath water as they enjoy their refreshing experience. Placing your bird bath near a garden or flower bed means the water will never go to waste. As it spills out of the basin, it effectively waters the plants and flowers surrounding it. This is great for your flowers and it also helps with water conservation.
  • Install more than one bird bath in many locations – by placing multiple bird baths throughout your backyard, you’ll provide drinking and bathing havens for all kinds of amazing wildlife including your favorite birds and curious ground dwellers like squirrels, moles, and other furry creatures.
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