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So birds are drinking from your pool water, and you can’t help but wonder: “Can birds drink pool water!?”
Well, it puzzled me, too, so I did some proper research 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 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!
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 many harmful chemicals in pools!
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.
Let’s cover the common chemicals found in pools first:
|Chemical / Material||Details|
|Chlorine||Chlorine reacts with water to create hypochlorous acid that kills cells (both pathogen and birds’ cells)|
|Bromine||More reactive but works similar to Chlorine.|
|Cyanuric acid||A Stabilizing agent for Chlorine to protect against UV rays|
|Ammonia||An irritant from organic matter such as human sweat and urine, decaying fallen leaves,|
|Chloramines||A harmful compound formed by hypochlorous acid and ammonia.|
|Pathogens||Harmful bacteria and other microorganisms that remain after chlorine treatment|
|Human skin cells and sweat||Remnants of human usage.|
|Debris||Any fallen dead leaves, branches, or dirt|
|Algae||Algae build up in pools that haven’t been maintained in a while|
After learning about what is in the swimming pool water above, don’t you find it a little gross for birds to drink from pools?
Moreover, it is very harmful to them to do it in the long term.
Will Chlorinated Water Hurt Birds?
Chlorinated water will hurt birds if consumed. Chlorinated water does not harm 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.
Note: Also, I provided my input as a biologist, but I am not a trained veterinarian.
Consult a vet or an animal expert if you want a professional opinion on this matter.
Will Pool Water Kill Birds?
Now that we all know the harm the different chemicals and materials in pools can do to birds, the burning question arises: “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 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 is: How will you deal with this?!
No fret; I offer a few quick solutions.
Here are three 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 cover up your pool.
If you can, get a large sheet to cover the top of your pool so birds can’t have access to it.
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, or 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 is to consider purchasing or setting up a bird bath or bird water foundation so birds can bathe and drink from there instead.
Try not to have any bird feeders and if you do, shift your bird feeder away from the pool, or you’ll risk them drinking the pool water and bird droppings in it.
If you’d like some options, here are two that are great for this from Amazon:
Will Chlorine In A Fountain Harm Birds?
Chlorine in water fountains can hurt birds if consumed. Chlorinated water does not harm birds externally. Still, it contains hypochlorous acid to inhibit bacterial growth, which can cause chlorine poisoning in birds when they swallow it in large amounts.
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 do our part to prevent birds from dying because they drink our swimming pool water!
Set up a birdbath so birds can drink from another water source.
Thanks for reading up till this point; I hope you have learned something today. Happy birding!
My Recommended Birding Resources:
Hey there, Justin here!
Here’s a list of all my favorite resources, products, and brands I trust and love.
Safe Paint for Bird Baths Guide: Learn about non-toxic paint for painting bird baths.
Safe Sealers for Bird Baths Guide: Learn which sealers are safe for bird baths.
Safe Paint for Bird Feeders Guide: Learn what special care needs to be taken to paint bird feeders with the right paint.
Safe Paint for Birdhouses Guide: Learn about non-toxic paint for painting birdhouses. (Not the same as bird baths!)
Bird Identification Apps Guide: 2 of my favorite birding apps are Merlin Bird ID, and eBird Mobile! Merlin is great for tracking and identifying birds, and eBird Mobile is great for tracking the birds sighted when birding.
Check out my resources page for the full list of resources I recommend!
Justin is the founder and author of Birding Outdoors. He is a Nanyang Technological University (NTU) alumnus with a Bachelor of Biological Sciences and a former data analyst.
Now, Justin runs the Birding Outdoors blog full-time, hoping to share his deep love for birds, birding, and nature with others.
To unwind, Justin enjoys gaming and reading.