The Q&A Archives: Location Of Bird Fountain

Question: Can you kindly tell me if there is any type of product available to control algae growth in my foutain. This is a medium sized, three tier fountain with pump. It is a favorite watering hole of a great many birds and, because of my lack of foresight, I placed it in full sun and, whenever the weather is hot, I have to empty and clean it once a week.
Between the algae and the bird droppings, it doesn't take long for it to become green, despite the pump. Is my only alternative to change the location to a less sunny spot? I certainly wouldn't want to introduce anything into the water which might affect my feathered friends, who often gather shoulder to shoulder around the bowl or bath in the shower of water cascading from the upper tier. Can you help? It would surely be appreciated. Ed Brown.

Answer: Unfortunately, the growth of algae is a natural process and may eventually occur in shady as well as in sunny locations -- especially in a birdbath situation heavily used by birds. There are in fact algicides intended for treating algae in fountains, but a quick check of a couple showed that they are specifically not recommended for birdbath use. However, most experts recommend regularly cleaning the birdbath, so using the algicide would not really save you any scrubbing work; even if you moved the fountain to the shade you would still need to clean it regularly for the sake of the birds. Perhaps if you looked at it as part of a natural process it would not seem so unsightly, and certainly the birds add welcome magic to the scene. I'm sorry I don't have an easy answer for you.

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