One of the easiest tips to jump on to ensure you are bringing birds to your yard is to install a bird bath on your property.
And while not every bird out there is a seed eater and will come to your feeders, EVERY bird does need water and may show up with a bird bath for them to drink from and you potentially benefit from a wider range of species to enjoy watching.
In the winter, this can actually be all the more important. We know that birds use eating and digestion as a way to fire their internal furnaces and stay warm in the cold. The more they can eat during daylight hours can ensure their survival through cold dark nights. The balance of calories in with eating and calories out with energy expenditure in the search of food and water is a precarious dance, and the search for water or the ingestion and melting of snow can cause more calorie loss than needed as they search for it.
A heated bird bath in winter is an easy way to ensure that they have access to water in quick and easy fashion.
We have several options to choose from that rest on metal stands or attach to your deck rails. Consider a sunny placement for solar help to keep the water flowing on the coldest of days. In the worst temperatures (below -30C), the heaters inside the birdbaths should keep at least a few inches free of water and open. It’s important to make sure you are using outdoor rated electrical cords, indoor cords won’t last and will pooch your warranties. An external heater for existing poly-resin or plastic birdbaths is also available.
As with all birdbaths they do require some maintenance to be kept clean and to make sure you have appropriate amounts of water in the bath -water evaporates even in the cold! You really don’t need to worry about birds bathing full out in the worst of temps – they’re actually pretty clever in that regard, but some stones or sticks in basin can help alleviate those concerns if they crop up. Snowfalls will mean also clearing off the feeder to allow the birds access.
All in all, providing water, especially in winter is a win win for both bird and man. They have to travel less and use less calories, and you will get some fabulous photo opportunities of some chubby poofed up birds drinking and preening in the sparkly snow!