Birds need access to fresh water all year-long, even in winter. Whether you already have a birdbath, pond, or other water feature in your backyard, or are considering adding one, these 3 options will ensure your backyard birds will have fresh water instead of ice.
If you're purchasing a new birdbath or want to add another one to your yard, look for an “all-in-one” birdbath, which has the heater built into the base. These birdbaths are a complete unit, and just need to be installed, filled with water and turned on. They come in both electric and solar power options. Many of these baths are made of thermoplastic, and are much easier to clean than concrete feeders. They turn on when the temperature drops below 35 degrees Fahrenheit and have an energy saver feature.
If you already have a birdbath you can prevent the water from freezing by adding a bird bath heater/de-icer. Like the all-in-one birdbaths, heaters can be electric or solar powered.
- Electric heater/de-icer: Most newer homes have outside electrical outlets, and if you don't, an electrician can install one fairly inexpensively. You can purchase a heater/de-icer for your existing bird bath. Many de-icers are thermostatically controlled to run when the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and provide stainless steel guards to protect the birds from the heating element.
- Solar heater/de-icer: During the day, the solar panels collect energy to circulate the water. They don’t require any electricity, so they are very cost-effective, and because they are not attached to an electrical cord, you can place them anywhere in your garden or landscape. (Note: Not all solar birdbaths are meant for winter use, so be sure to read the package!)