Many parts of the country are experiencing seriously cold weather now. For wild birds that means a hardship trying to find water that they can drink as most of it is frozen over. In cold weather, wild birds can get dehydrated and that’s why you sometimes see birds in the street gutters trying to drink the horrible stuff there that has been mixed with antifreeze or other potentially poisonous things. But it is available liquid, and so when they are thirsty and everything else is frozen over…well any port in a storm.
If you can make fresh water available in your yard or in the city on your balcony or roofdeck. This can make a huge difference to the birds and animals living outside. I live in a city and as soon as the temperatures get near freezing I set out the “heated” birdbath. My friends think I am running a spa for birds with hot baths in winter, but the truth is this really is a lifeline for wild birds when all exposed water is frozen over.
Basically these bird baths or waterers keep the temperature of the water above freezing so it is never iced over. They come in varying designs from pedestals, ground standing and deck mounts with the heater built in, to separate heating units you can put into an existing bath. You can get solar powered heated baths for around $20. The ones that run on electricity aren’t terribly inexpensive (plus you’ll need an extension cord and outside electrical outlet), but if you want to help wild birds in the winter, this is a great investment. Plus you can watch them gather in your backyard or on your deck when there is no other place for them to find drinkable water!
Wild animals also need water and the ground baths are a good way for them to be able to easily get hydrated during freezing weather.
There are all kinds of heated baths, but my favorites are found at Duncraft. We have the one pictured above, and it is in constant use on our roof deck – from pigeons to mockingbirds, cardinals, jays, and crows. All our flighted neighbors stop by during the day for a drink when all the other bars are closed due to ice.