5 Simple Tips to Keep Birds Out of Your Water Fountain

Water fountains add a sense of beauty and elegance to your garden, backyard, or landscaping. However, these dazzling decorative pieces can attract lots of birds. While these feathered friends may add color, music, and life to your yard, they can quickly become a nuisance when they make themselves at home in unwelcomed places. When birds take over your water fountain, they take away the charm and peace of having it. 

There are several ways you can try to keep birds out of your water fountain. We recommend combining a few of the methods below for the most effective results.

bird perched on a water fountain

What Attracts Birds to Water Fountains?

Before you can effectively keep birds out of your water fountain, you need to understand what attracts them in the first place. Like people, birds need food, water, and shelter to survive. Your outdoor fountain and its surrounding area commonly provide all these pillars of life to these flying creatures. 

Birds find tasty treats in the seeds, nuts, and various plants that are in the areas around your water fountain, including flower beds and gardens. The clean, fresh water attracts birds. The filter that cycles water through your fountain keeps the water clear and beautiful for your viewing but also attracts the feathered creatures you are trying to remove. 

Tall grasses and plants that surround your water fountain can provide birds with shelter from windy, stormy, or rainy weather. The trees that stand near the fountain offer tons of locations for birds to create their nests close to a food and water source. The nearby birds will surely swoop down to drink water from your fountain in a matter of time. 

Tips to Keep the Birds Away

water drop

1: Substitute Your Fresh Water

The clean water that bubbles through your water fountain is very appealing to nearby birds. Instead, try to substitute the fresh water for something they can’t drink. Salt water is a great alternative. The change of smell itself is enough to get birds to reconsider drinking from the fountain. Please do not use chlorine pills, as that may harm any birds that still attempt to drink the water.

If you have a birdbath nearby, ensure that it is always clean and full of clear, fresh water. Birds are attracted to clean water, so keeping your birdbath sparkling will help attract them to that instead of your water fountain. 

 bird feeder hanging from a tree branch

2: Remove Food Sources

Like other animals you find around your backyard, birds will find any crumbs, berries, or pet food left behind. Try to keep berries and garden plants away from your water fountain. If you enjoy eating a picnic lunch in your yard by the water fountain, ensure you clean up all the garbage, crumbs, and apple cores before you head back inside. This will ensure there is nothing left behind for birds to pick at for food near the fountain. Keep all outdoor garbage cans closed completely. 

Your pets can also leave food out for these unwanted flying pests. If pet food must be stored outside, ensure it is kept in an airtight or bird-proof container to ensure the birds cannot smell or access it. If possible, feed your pets inside to reduce the amount of stray pieces left behind or pushed into the grass. Keep an eye on your pets as they eat to ensure no birds swoop in. Be sure to clean up the location of their dish as well as the food and water bowls themselves after your pet is finished.

water fountain in a grassy backyard

3: Mow Grass and Prune Trees

The tall grass and tree branches surrounding your water fountain can provide birds with nesting locations and the materials they need to create those nests. Birds, especially those with eggs or hatchlings in their nest, look for food and water sources nearby, so limiting their nesting options will decrease the frequency of their visits to your water fountain. You may also want to remove or destroy any bird nests near the fountain. This simple fix will help keep birds away and make it easier to view and enjoy your water fountain. 

mint leaves

4: Bird Repellent

There are some smells that birds simply don’t like, and they work great in trying to keep birds away. There are bird repellents available for purchase, but you can create your own remedies that work just as well at home, too. 

The smell of strong peppermint will keep the birds away. Mixing peppermint extract into the water that runs through your water fountain will likely keep birds at a distance. Placing potted mint plants near the water fountain will also likely keep some birds away. 

You can also use a mixture of water, vinegar, and dried chili peppers. Mix 24 cut-up chili peppers, a half gallon of water, and a quarter cup of vinegar. Warm the mixture in a crock pot or outside naturally. After mixing together thoroughly, cool the mixture, pour into a spray bottle, and spray the mixture around the fountain and on areas the birds like to perch on. Respray every few days or after it rains until the birds stop visiting.

owl statue

5: Predator Decoy

Most birds are easily scared off by predator decoys, as long as they are creatures they are familiar with. Birds will not be scared off by creatures they do not recognize as predators, so we don’t recommend selecting an alligator decoy for a Wisconsin home. Decoys that work just about anywhere include cats, snakes, scarecrows, and owls. Owls are the most popular decoy option, as they are known to most birds as a common predator. Placing any one of these or multiple types of decoys near your fountain will help scare away your feathered pests. 

Having multiple statue options to rotate through will ensure that the birds don’t get used to the presence of the decoy. It is strongly suggested that you rotate the decoy animal and move it to a new place every few days to ensure the birds don’t get comfortable.

hummingbird near an outdoor fountain

Now that you know a little more about what attracts birds to your water fountain in the first place and how to keep them away, you can fully enjoy your water fountain. Water fountains can add a peaceful ambiance to your yard, garden, or landscaping, so don’t let your backyard birds take over. Combining three or four of these methods together is the best way to give you the best results. Birds naturally will flock to your water fountain, but following these easy steps can help keep them away.

Birds & wildlifeFountainsOutdoor living



Can anyone help us please. We have installed a beautiful fountain in our roof top garden and it looks like we are attracting many pigeons. We don’t mind birds as they are small and not messy as pigeons. We tried all methods from decoys, hanging plastic shiny pieces, pigeon spikes and much more. We like birds but pigeons are pests they are pooping everywhere. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks to all

Dennis Davis

The reason I have a birdbath is to attract and water the birds. Why would I want to keep them away?


I don’t mind birds at all in fact I love them but unfortunately lately the black birds are not just bathing and drinking out of my water fountain but they’re using it as a toilet and that is making the water disgusting as well as leaving large 2 in strands of feces in the water that is a little too much. It’s making the water filthy and I don’t want to put bleach in it cuz I’m afraid it will harm them.

Barb Dick

My new fountain is lovely and I have it for the birds! Not sure why anyone would want to keep them away, they bring such joy to our home. The soothing water sounds are lovely when we sit outside, and the birds politely wait for us to go inside before enjoying the fountain!

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