For the birds that visit birdbaths and ponds in our garden, this water is a lifeline. Birds need to drink regularly whether the weather is hot or cold. Even in the depths of an extremely cold winter, they simply must bathe to maintain their plumage. Birds, especially small ones, need to drink at least twice a day and being able to rely on water that we can supply, makes a big difference.
That’s why we’re sharing our tips on easy effective ways to prevent your bird baths freezing over this winter:
A tennis ball, cork or ping pong ball placed in unfrozen water can help to prevent water freezing over as they’ll move in the wind and agitate the surface of the water. This may only keep a small amount of water ice-free but it will still mean that birds have vital access to drinking.
Should you have a concrete bird bath we would not recommend pouring hot water directly onto the ice as this could crack your birdbath. Instead, try placing a pan of hot water on top, this should melt the ice in the same way.
Another tip is to line your birdbath with a bin liner or a sheet of plastic so that in the morning all you have to do is lift the liner out and refill your birdbath with fresh, clean water.
Avoiding chemicals is a must. Never add chemicals (such as glycerine, salt or anti-freeze) to the water. These may stop birds' feathers from being waterproof and even poison the birds themselves.
Providing water and food for your garden birds at this time of year can make the difference between life and death.