Can Birds Drink Pool Water? [ANSWERED! + Other FAQs]


So you’ve probably had birds drinking from your pool water and can’t help but wonder to yourself: “can birds drink pool water!?” and “is it even safe!?” Well, it puzzled you as much as it puzzled me, so I took to do some proper research myself and came up with a definite answer. Here’s what I found:

Birds can drink swimming pool water. However, birds should not drink pool water for prolonged periods of time because this can cause chlorination or bromination poisoning. In addition, if the pool is poorly maintained, birds can become intoxicated with pathogens, waste, and debris in the pool.

Birds have lots to lose when they choose to drink water from swimming pools. In this article, I will cover more on how the chemicals in swimming pool water are harmful to birds. Read on more to find out how to deal with them too!

Can Birds Drink Pool Water?

That’s a good question. As much as we love to swim and frolic in swimming pools to cool down from the summer heat, birds also love them! Birds can’t resist this easily accessible water source, just like any lake or pond in a park. However, there are many concerns about them doing so.

Here’s a video of a bird drinking from pool water:

Birds can drink swimming pool water. However, birds should not drink pool water for prolonged periods of time because this can cause chlorination or bromination poisoning. In addition, if the pool is poorly maintained, birds can become intoxicated with pathogens, waste, and debris in the pool.

Swimming pool water contains a ton of chemicals that can even harm humans if consumed in large amounts. With the relatively small bodies of birds compared to adult humans, birds are much more vulnerable to poisoning from consuming so much of the harmful chemicals in pools!

Let’s cover the common chemicals found in pools first:

Chemical / MaterialDetails
ChlorineChlorine reacts with water to create hypochlorous acid that kills cells (both pathogen and birds’ cells)
BromineMore reactive but works similar to Chlorine.
Cyanuric acidA Stabilizing agent for Chlorine to protect against UV rays
AmmoniaAn irritant from organic matter such as human sweat and urine, decaying fallen leaves,
ChloraminesA harmful compound formed by hypochlorous acid and ammonia.
PathogensHarmful bacteria and other microorganisms that remain after chlorine treatment
Human skin cells and sweatRemnants of human usage.
DebrisAny fallen dead leaves, branches, or dirt
AlgaeAlgae build up in pools that haven’t been maintained in a while

After learning about what stuff is in the swimming pool water above, don’t you find it a little gross for birds to be drinking from pools? Moreover, it is actually harmful to them to do it in the long term.

Will Chlorinated Water Hurt Birds?

Chlorinated water in fountains can hurt birds if consumed. Chlorinated water does not do harm to birds externally but it contains hypochlorous acid to inhibit bacterial growth which can cause chlorine poisoning in birds when they swallow it in large amounts.

I quote Healthline for this information. Also, I do provide my inputs as a trained biologist. It’s best to not let birds

Will Pool Water Kill Birds?

Now that we all know the harm that the different chemicals and materials in pools can do to birds, the burning question comes up: “Will pool water kill birds?” Here’s my answer:

Pool water will not kill birds unless they consume it in large amounts. The chlorinated water in swimming pools is harmful to birds and can cause chloride poisoning. Furthermore, pool water contains cyanuric acid and ammonia from various sources, which are toxic to birds.

There have been many cases where birds come back often to drink the pool water, but still, survive. As such, it really depends on how much the birds consume. If the birds consume in larger amounts, then it is more likely to suffer from chlorine poisoning!

How Do I Stop Birds From Drinking Pool Water?

After learning about the repercussions of birds drinking from your swimming pool water, the most important question now is: how on earth will you deal with this?! No fret, I offer a few quick solutions. Here are 3 quick ways to deal with it:

1. Cover Up Your Pool

The simplest way to deal with birds drinking your swimming pool water is to simply cover your pool up. If you can, get a large sheet to cover the top of your pool so birds can’t have access to it. I know this can be troublesome and tough, but it’s a surefire way to stop birds from drinking pool water.

2. Scare The Birds Away

Another method is to scare birds away from your house entirely. You can do so by placing scarecrows around your pool. Oh! I’m not referring to the traditional scarecrows you would see at farms to scare birds. I mean placing realistic-looking figures of predator birds around your pool! There are many options out there but most are either owls, hawks, and falcons.

Birds are naturally scared of being eaten by these predator birds, so there’s a high chance that birds will be scared to even approach the vicinity of your pool! Here are some of my recommendations and their Amazon links:

Recommended bird predator scarecrow: Fake Horned Hawk Scarecrow

Recommended Bird Predator Scarecrow: Motion Activated Owl Scarecrow

3. Set Up A Bird Bath or Bird Water Foundation

A great way to discourage birds from using your swimming pool for drinking, you can consider purchasing or setting up a bird bath or bird water foundation so that birds can bathe and drink from there instead. If you’d like some options, here are some from Amazon:

Mumtop Flower Patterned Stake Bird Bath

Kante Flower Patterned Concrete Bird Bath

Will Chlorine In A Fountain Harm Birds?

Chlorine in water fountains can hurt birds if consumed. Chlorinated water does not do harm to birds externally but it contains hypochlorous acid to inhibit bacterial growth which can cause chlorine poisoning in birds when they swallow it in large amounts.

Final Thoughts

Okay, now you know that chlorine water in swimming pools is bad for birds and can even kill them if consumed in large amounts. Let’s all do our part to prevent birds from dying just because they drink our swimming pool water! Set up a birdbath or two so birds can drink from another water source. Thanks for reading up till this point, I hope you have learned something today. Happy birding!

Justin

Justin is a hobbyist birder that hopes to share his birding knowledge with the world. His favorite bird is the Large-tailed Nightjar and he really loves potato chips!

Recent Posts