Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum: Copper watering tray for pollinators and birds...issues with birds?

Views: 138, Replies: 8 » Jump to the end
(Zone 6a)
Image
UrbanWild
Aug 11, 2016 2:45 PM CST
So... I recently got a copper hanging water bath. There is a fair amount of material online about copper being toxic to birds. Most of it looks fairly gereralized. Does anyone know of sources of specific info on copper toxicity and birds? There are so many products available I'm curious as to why it isn't a more common discussion...or ???
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly scented plants.
Name: Kurt
Woodbridge , Va (Zone 7a)
Hummingbirder Butterflies Birds Dragonflies Garden Photography Container Gardener
Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Annuals Region: Mid-Atlantic Region: Virginia
Image
krobra
Aug 11, 2016 3:32 PM CST
sounds to me like they really need to ingest it for it to be a real threat , as long as they are not eating the copper bird bath they should be fine.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Aug 11, 2016 3:55 PM CST
I agree The tiny amount of copper ions that would be in the water would take years and years for a bird to drink enough to be poisoned. Also if you change or refill the water often, there is even less in there. (stagnant water that sat for weeks might accumulate a measurable amount of copper but in a small bird bath it would evaporate)

A lot of people put pennies in their bird baths to keep the algae from growing. I also know a lady who has an antique copper bird bath that she's used for at least 25 years, and she also feeds the birds. She reports no problems that she has seen. Not that you'd necessarily know if a bird got sick from using your bird bath, I guess. There's a thread on this discussion about pennies in bird baths. The two articles linked have no reference to copper being toxic to birds.

Copper used to be (and still is) used for water supply pipes in your home. It's also used as a spray fungicide on fruit crops and other trees, so you'd think that would be a much more likely source for copper poisoning of birds than bird baths.

I wonder how researchers could come to the conclusion that there would be a problem? How can you do a controlled study on wild birds? Lots of birds only live a few years anyway, so . . did this bird or that bird die of copper poisoning? You'd have to find the dead bodies around your property and have them tested for toxic levels of copper to come to that conclusion. There are so many other possible contaminants, even in the rain water, how could you know?
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
[Last edited by dyzzypyxxy - Aug 11, 2016 8:52 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1240264 (3)
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
Image
flaflwrgrl
Aug 11, 2016 6:06 PM CST
There was a huge, long discussion about this some time ago. Please read the entire thread:
The thread "Pennies in the birdbath..." in Ask a Question forum
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Aug 11, 2016 8:37 PM CST

Moderator

I don't know about copper or birds, but Welcome!
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Aug 11, 2016 8:54 PM CST
Thanks Ann, I couldn't find that "Pennies . . " thread to save my life.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
(Zone 6a)
Image
UrbanWild
Aug 12, 2016 7:19 AM CST
The irony is that it was just that thread that lead me here! So most of the more toxic literature seems to come from the pet bird arena. Some wildlife lit exists, but those I've seen thus far don't provide enough specific info for me to know how acute the issue is.
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly scented plants.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Aug 12, 2016 8:25 AM CST
As I said above, I just don't see how anyone could conduct a controlled study on this. Pet birds are kept in a closed environment. Wild birds range so far and wide, and they also migrate. They sample many different water sources, including natural and polluted storm water. Without the capability of collecting dead bird bodies on a fairly large scale, how could you determine exactly what killed them? You'd need to collect them within a short time after they died to do toxicity testing as well. Impossible!

My personal opinion is that it isn't worth worrying about. There are so many other much bigger hazards that we create for wildlife, like garden chemicals and household cleaners etc. Worry about the bigger picture, use your copper bird bath, and just remember to flush the water regularly. You're providing cleaner, safer water than what's in the ditch in front of your house, for sure!
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
Image
flaflwrgrl
Aug 12, 2016 11:43 AM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:As I said above, I just don't see how anyone could conduct a controlled study on this. Pet birds are kept in a closed environment. Wild birds range so far and wide, and they also migrate. They sample many different water sources, including natural and polluted storm water. Without the capability of collecting dead bird bodies on a fairly large scale, how could you determine exactly what killed them? You'd need to collect them within a short time after they died to do toxicity testing as well. Impossible!

My personal opinion is that it isn't worth worrying about. There are so many other much bigger hazards that we create for wildlife, like garden chemicals and household cleaners etc. Worry about the bigger picture, use your copper bird bath, and just remember to flush the water regularly. You're providing cleaner, safer water than what's in the ditch in front of your house, for sure!

I agree with Elaine on this. I seriously don't think the birds bathing in it would come to any harm from getting "copper water" on their bodies; I think it would have to be ingested and in great quantities. The water in my bird baths gets dumped & refilled daily or actually, added to 3 times a day because the birds splash most of it out that often each day in the summer. When you consider everything the exposure to the copper is truly miniscule.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "Lilium 'Pink Perfection'"