Birds Need a Bathtub, Even in Winter


So one of the four cornerstones of maintaining a backyard wildlife habitat is providing a source of water.  This can be fairly easy throughout the majority of the year, even in the wonderfully temperamental northern Midwest climate we find here in Wisconsin.  But at some point in the year (often much sooner than I would like), the weather decides that anything above 32 degrees Fahrenheit just isn’t going to be possible any more.  And so I (and my feathered friends) wake up to a solid chunk of ice where previously there was a refreshing pool for splashing and drinking.  This tends to get me some very disgruntled looks from my resident goldfinches when they arrive for their breakfast nyjer feed.

They may be tiny, but they travel in packs and I don’t want them mad at me so I saved up the funds and this year I invested in a ‘heated’ bird bath.  I splurged during my local Menards 11% rebate sale and picked up this model, which has the heater internally sealed into the birdbath itself.  You can get birdbath de-icers, which are electrical appliances of a sort that you place in your bird baths and they keep the water just above freezing.  The ones that I was seeing were, price-wise, around $15-25.  As none of my current birdbaths were a ‘safe for winter’ material as is, I would have had to purchase a new birdbath AND the de-icer, so I just decided to cut out the middle man and get the all-in-one unit.  Going forward, as I add birdbaths to my gardens I will make sure that I purchase Wisconsin winter-friendly materials so that the independent de-icers are an option.

There are lots of different models of birdbaths and de-icers out there, I’m by no means endorsing this particular model (it just happened to be on sale), especially since I just purchased it a few weeks ago.  I’ll keep an eye on it over the winter, and assuming that my birds continue to use it regularly and the ice chunks are kept to a minimum, I’m happy.  And so is my goldfinch flock, which means I can safely wander my backyard again.


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