There is no better way to get birds flocking to your yard than a good source of ice-free fresh water. In the cold of winter when our ponds and creeks freeze over, birds will flock to an ice free birdbath. About 70% of a bird’s non-fat body tissue is water that needs to be maintained to avoid dehydration. You will see birds that you will never catch at the feeders like a flock of American Robins, Eastern Bluebirds, Carolina Wrens, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Mockingbirds. These birds stay here through the winter and change from primarily an insect diet in the summer to a berry diet in the winter. Besides, birdbaths being a source of drinking water for birds, it is also important for bathing, even in the cold temperatures. It’s vital in the winter for birds to keep their feathers in tiptop shape by bathing. By cleaning their feathers and grooming them with natural oils, our feathered friends are able to help insulate their bodies from the cold and stay warm. Customers will ask “Won’t the water freeze to their feathers or their feet stick to the bath?” No, their feet are like fingernails and don’t feel cold or freeze to things.
We have a line of great birdbaths with a 150 watt built in heater. These are available as a deck mount, which attaches to a 2X4 or 2X6 deck railing, bringing the birds up close for viewing. One of these is an EZ Tilt that makes it extremely easy to fill and clean the bath. They are also available in pedestals if you don’t have a deck railing.
You can add a deicer to a birdbath you already have. These are small submersible electrical units that are designed to keep the water above freezing, keeping your birdbath ice free. They are economical and safe. Our most popular is Allied’s 250 watt deicer. It’s a heavy duty birdbath heater that will keep the water thawed through our northeast Kansas winters. Allied also has a couple 95 watt heaters that are flat or can be used in a bath with a center statue. We also carry the Nelson Gulfstream, 200 watts. When using an external heater, make sure to use a bath that will not crack with the freezing and thawing. Manufacturers of concrete, ceramic or clay advise not to use them in the winter months. If your power goes out in a storm and you lose electricity, your bath could crack or break. Metal or plastic are good options in colder months and can easily accommodate a deicer. We have customers frequently ask about solar heated baths. At this point in time there are no good solar heating solutions. If you have a cloudy day a solar will not keep the bath thawed. It will freeze at night. Solar products that store with a back up battery are not cost effective. We keep our eye out at shows for new products and will let you know as soon as a good solar alternative is available.
All of our deicers and our birdbaths with built in heaters are thermostatically controlled, so they are only on when they need to be. Water will never become warm but will stay above freezing. Make sure your bath is in an area of your yard with close proximity to a grounded (three prong plug type) outlet. Many people run an extension cord, it is best to use a short (25ft) compared to longer extension cord. (50ft+) If you don’t have an outdoor option, use an outlet in the garage and run the cord under the garage door.
One of our favorite products is our birdbath brushes. These are great heavy duty brushes wheather your needing it for heavy scrubbing with a cement bath or lightly cleaning a smooth plastic bath. Having the right tool makes any job easy. We also carry the Care Free Enzymes product line of cleaners for baths, feeders or houses. Start with a clean birdbath and use a capful of Birdbath Protector to prevent organic contaminants from forming like mineral deposits and algae. It’s non toxic, all natural, safe for birds and wildlife.