Bird Baths In Winter
Although providing water for birds in the summer is important when it’s hot and dry, during the winter, sources of water for birds may freeze so you should continue to use your bird bath to provide a clean fresh water supply. It is essential that birds keep their feathers in good condition over the winter to help them keep warm so although birds may drink water from snow or ice a bird bath will help them with bathing.
Not all bird baths are suitable for use during very heavy winters. Concrete and ceramic baths can be damaged by frost and snow so metal or plastic bird baths are best used during the cold winter months.
Algae may have formed over the summer and warm water is a breeding ground for bacteria so give your bird bath a thorough clean and sterilise it before putting it out over winter.
Move your bird bath to the sunniest spot in your garden if you can and place a black bin bag at the bottom of the bowl to help absorb as much solar energy as possible to try and minimise freezing. If the bird bath is big enough floating a tennis ball or ping pong ball will also help prevent ice forming.
Do not use anti-freeze or salt or other chemicals to prevent freezing. These are toxic to birds and can be fatal. The simplest way to keep your bird bath ice-free is to pour on some hot water each morning to melt the ice ; this also ensures you are providing birds with a constant supply of fresh water each day.
Don’t forget to keep feeding the birds in your garden over winter. We have lots of advice about feeding birds all year round.