Sunday, November 28, 2010

Winter Birdbaths: Heated Bird baths Provide Water Year-Round

Nov 27, 2010 Bambi Hokanson

Winter birdbaths provide water for birds - my personal files

Winter birdbaths provide water for birds - my personal files

Birdbaths (also known as bird baths) are very popular for yards during the summer months, but heated bird baths can provide much needed water during the wintertime when streams, lakes and ponds are covered with ice. During the winter, birds are more attracted to water than food. Winter birdbaths, that provide a consistent level of water, supply winter birds with water when other water sources are not available.

Winter Birds Struggle Through Long Cold Months

When fall arrives, most winter birds begin preparing for the winter by banding together and forming flocks. This enhances their protection against predators and improves the chances of finding food and water. They also start changing their diet by searching for food that will be more available through the winter months.

Wintertime is particularly demanding for birds because of less daylight and lengthy, bitter nights. With the lack of warm, dry shelter to protect them from cold wind, rain, snow and ice, survival can be a real challenge. Additionally, the stress from little water, because of the frozen water sources such as ponds, lakes and streams, can be overwhelming for birds. Although winter birds can eat snow, the amount of energy it takes for their bodies to warm and melt the snow is tremendous.

Winter Birdbaths Aid in Survival

Not only are winter birdbaths among birds’ limited resources of water during the wintertime, but they also provide water for bathing. In order to clean and preen their feathers for flying, birds continue to bathe throughout the coldest days of the year.

Heated Bird Baths Keep Water From Freezing

To prevent water from freezing, heated bird baths are ideal during the cold months. It is equally important that the birdbath itself be made to withstand freezing temperatures, or it could possibly crack. Avoid birdbaths with deep walls, because freezing temperatures cause the sides to expand and break.

For those who keep unheated birdbaths up during the winter, ice should be broken and removed from the birdbath daily. This is important, because birds tend to go back regularly to the same places to find water. Heated bird baths can eliminate this chore by providing a consistent level of thawed water.

Because winter Birds are more attracted by water than by food, winter birdbaths are a nice way to keep birds visiting yards throughout the year. Heated bird baths really can provide much needed water for birds during the bitter cold time of the year, and in addition; bird watching can be enjoyed year-round.


Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Backyard Wildlife and Sanctuary: Ponds and Birdbaths (assessed 11/27/10)

Wild Birds Unlimited: Winter Bird Feeding (assessed 11/27/10)

Copyright Bambi Hokanson. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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