There are bird baths, and then there are bird baths.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a good old big bowl of water, cleaned and changed daily, for your garden avian visitors to drink and bathe in.
But a dynamic feature like a bird bath fountain takes bird bathing to new levels in your yard.
In “the old days”, powering the pump that a fountain needs required tricky business, and potential danger where electricity is involved.
With solar power now at our fingertips, things have changed and anyone can now run a solar powered bird bath fountain in the garden safely.
The power of the solar pump is going to play the biggest role in how spectacular your bird bath fountain can be. It goes without saying: the more power the pump can put out, the more water that can be moved.
How it works and benefits of solar powered bird bath fountains:
- The solar panel collects sunlight and converts it into electricity.
- The electricity is used to power the pump.
- The pump circulates the water in the birdbath.
- The moving water helps to keep the water clean and aerated.
- The clean, aerated water attracts birds.
- Solar powered bird bath fountains are a great way to attract birds to your yard and provide them with a safe place to drink and bathe.
If you’re handy, you can rig up your own pump to a bird bath.
For the rest of us, pre-made solar powered baths are the way to go. They’re now cheap and very simple to get going quickly.
You’ll see solar powered bird baths with power ratings from 1W, 1.4W, 2.5W, 3.5W and 4W most commonly.
1-3W is usable, but I highly recommend going for a 3.5W or 4W model like this one if you want an impressive, functional fountain. And these more powerful ones tend to have a few more “bells and whistles” as well.
The better fountains come equipped with a battery for power storage: 3000-4000 mAh batteries being the most commonly used.
So how does a solar powered bird bath fountain actually work?
All we’re doing is taking the essential basic elements of using a pump to power movement of water, but in this case using solar energy to power a fountain pump for the purpose of a bird bath.
The solar panel collects sunlight and converts it into electricity. This is then used to power the pump.
The pump circulates the water in the bird bath which helps to keep the water clean and aerated. A pump with suitable power can also create an impressive fountain (pushing water into the air).
Is 4 watts (4W) enough to power a fountain bird bath?
Yes, 4 watts is enough to pump a water fountain for a bird bath. In fact, many solar-powered bird bath fountains use 4 watts or less. The amount of power needed to pump a water fountain depends on the size of the fountain and the height of the water stream. A 4-watt pump will be able to create a small, gentle water stream that is perfect for attracting birds.
You also need to look at the battery, if the fountain comes with one.
Some solar powered bird bath fountains have a battery that can store electricity for use at night or on cloudy days after taking in power from the sun throughout the day.
Ok , so if 4W is more than enough, what about the 1.4W fountain bird bath products? Is this really powerful enough to create a good fountain?
It depends greatly on the design of the fountain.
But 1.4 watts is enough to pump a well designed small water fountain for a bird bath.
In fact most bird baths only require a pump with 1-2 watts of power. A 1.4 watt pump will be able to create a gentle stream of water that attracts birds and other wildlife to moving water.
These are the things to keep in mind when you’re looking at the power rating of a fountain bird bath:
Size: A larger bird bath will require a more powerful pump than a smaller bird bath.
Height of the fountain: The height of the fountain will determine how much water it can pump. This is plain old gravity at work. A higher fountain will be able to pump more water than a shorter fountain.
Type of fountain: Although we’ve focused on solar powered fountains here, there are other types of water fountains available including battery operated and plug-in fountains that could be a better option in some environments (little to no sunlight for most of the year, for example).
You can run into some issues with a poorly designed fountain bath. Things like:
- Some fountains don’t produce enough water for the amount of birds coming through and needs regular refilling throughout the day. The solar panel may not be able to generate enough power to keep the fountain running, or the pump may not be powerful enough to produce a strong stream of water. Solution: look at more powerful pumps 3W and up.
- Cheaper models can be built with flimsy plastic that doesn’t last long with repeated sun exposure, resulting in cracking