Help birds look their best
There are lots of things we can do to help garden birds keep their plumage in prime condition...
1 Provide a bath Whether a birdbath or pond, the secret is all about having shallow water. Birds are looking for the equivalent of a puddle where they aren’t at risk of stepping out of their depth, so design your pond to have a gently-sloping beach area or choose a shallow birdbath for preening.
2 Leave bare soil Birds such as sparrows and wrens like to bathe in dust as much as in water, flicking the fine particles among their feathers. A bare, sunny patch of dry sandy soil serves them well.
3 Make it safe The act of preening puts a bird in danger, so they tend to do it in quiet places. A garden with tall trees and dense evergreens is much preferred to those with few hiding places. If cats are around, try placing a birdbath up on a shed or porch roof, so birds can undergo their ablutions with confidence.