Helping Birds Survive Winter: Heated Bird Baths

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Each year, as the weather starts to turn cold, water sources begin to freeze over. As most water becomes locked in snow or ice, it can be more challenging for birds to find fresh water for drinking. They can eat snow, but it also costs them precious body heat (energy) that they need - they are already fighting to keep their little bodies warm against all odds. If birds have to travel for fresh water, they are again expending energy, and may have to travel away from food sources. When we can provide high quality seed AND open water, we are truly creating a haven to help birds make it through the harshest winter months. They can eat, drink, and hopefully shelter in some nearby trees or bushes. 

Heated bird baths are occasionally a topic of controversy. People often raise concerns about the birds themselves getting wet in the frigid weather and the potential for negative result or harm to the birds. People want to provide drinking water but become nervous about birds bathing in the water and freezing outside afterwards. 

American Robin at Heated Bird Bath. Photo by Leanne Leblanc. 

Pine Grosbeak eating snow. Photo by Kristen Martyn. 
Looks chilly! Pine Grosbeak eating snow. Photo by Kristen Martyn. 

Here's the thing: birds will typically not go into water if it is too cold for them to do so. 

Call it instinct - most birds will refrain from getting wet when it's too cold outside. They will simply land on the edge of the bath and drink from it. If you still feel nervous about it, you can create ways that birds cannot wade into the water, such as adding sticks and/or stones to the bottom - just make sure they are being cleaned regularly to avoid bacteria build up. 

This helps attract even birds that typically wouldn't visit a feeder, and you may get some winter robins, as pictured above. 

American Goldfinches drinking from Heated Bird Bath in winter. Photo by Leanne Leblanc. 

We have many options to help you help birds this winter. You can check out all of our bird bath accessories here. Try the following options (these also make amazing Christmas gifts):

Learn a bit more about helping birds survive winter: 

A fantastic and simple way to support birds as we head into the harsh winter months ahead. 

Happy watching! 



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