Winter Bird Bath Tips

Winter Bird Bath Tips

With colder weather arriving in much of the country, it’s time to start thinking about how to make your backyard a  haven for winter birds. One of the best ways is to provide a source of drinking water – many birds that rarely visit feeders will stop by a bird bath for a drink. Here are a few ways to keep water available for birds even in freezing weather.

Cardinal at Winter Bird BathRoland Jordahl

Keep the Water Moving. If the temperatures aren’t too cold, just keeping the water moving can be enough to keep it from freezing. Try adding a Water Wiggler or small fountain to your birdbath. These are nice in warm weather too, when the moving water keeps mosquitoes away.

Choose Wisely: Avoid concrete, stone, or glass bird baths in the winter, as they can crack if water freezes. Shallow bowls are best, since birds will not bathe when the weather is cold. They will only use the bath for drinking.

Upgrade to a Heated Bath. These bird baths are pretty reasonably priced, and can plug right into an outdoor outlet on your back porch. They heat water just enough to keep it from freezing, without making it too warm. (Birds don’t want to drink hot water.) Buy a heated bath or add a heater to your existing bath, like this heated “rock” from Doctors Foster and Smith.

Winter Bird Bath

Fill Frequently: If these options are out of your price range, try moving your bird bath close to a window and filling it with warm (not hot) water several times each day. It’s a short-term solution, but it also encourages you to keep on eye on your birds and makes you a better bird-watcher!

Pro Tip: Never add any kind of additives to your water to keep it from freezing. It’s simply not safe for birds.

How do you offer water to birds in the winter? Give us your own tips in the comments below!

Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.