We have a large bird cage (6'x4') in which we have about 30 or 40 finches all of which have been bred here as I bought the first half dozen back in about 1986.
They love to have a bath and of course need to have water to drink as well. Unfortunately they tend to do both in the same dish so it has to be cleaned out quite frequently. For some years now we have been using a large and reasonably deep terracotta saucer (the type you put under a plant pot). My arthritis now keeps me from getting into the cage so MOH has taken over the responsibility of caring for the birds for which I am very grateful to him.
The terracotta dish has been looking darker and darker in colour and no amount of scrubbing makes it look any better. The other day I realised I had a lovely, large glass dish (perhaps for quiches or similar) that had sat in a kitchen cupboard for years without being used. "Aha" thought I "that would be lovely for the finches. A nice fresh, clean dish".
I gave the dish to MOH who took it into the cage and filled it with clean water at the same time removing the old chatty terracotta dish. We both felt we had done something really good for the little birds.
But NO! We went out next day and they had not been in or near the new dish. Not one grain of seed (or anything else that finches often deposit in their dish) was in sight. We left it a few hours but still they didn't go near it. MOH really scrubbed the old dish vigorously and popped it back in the cage and we once again had a bunch of happy finches, drinking and bathing to their little hearts' content.
The glass dish has been sterilised (just in case) and perhaps one day I will find a use for it. Now I think it will be a trip to the garden centre to buy a new, large terracotta saucer but the question is "Will they use it or will they still prefer the old one?"
We were both amazed that even though the weather was quite hot and they would have needed to drink, and to bathe too perhaps, no way would they go in or near the glass dish. I wonder if anyone can explain why?