Frozen birdbaths are a real problem in areas with harsh winters. However, there are simple solutions. How simple? So simple, even we can flocking do it.
Providing fresh water to birds and other wildlife in the wintertime is critical. Why? During the coldest periods, water availability may be at a minimum. Offering an open source of water not only can help birds but can attract quite a variety of birds and other wildlife species to your backyard!
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What are the ways to keep a birdbath open? Use our clickable navigation to learn all the options!
Keep your birdbath open by changing the water daily
If you live in a region where the average daily temperatures are above freezing but nightly temperatures dip below the ice-making mark, you can keep your birdbath open by simply changing the water daily! Emptying the birdbath at night and refilling it in the morning will not only keep your birdbath cleaner, but it may also prevent damage to the basin caused by the constant freeze and thaw action of the water! This is our favorite option for keeping a birdbath both clean and warm.
However, if this option is not for you, our top recommendation from the list below is the API Heater and De-icer.
Moving water in a birdbath will not freeze as quickly
Moving water does not freeze easily. You are probably very aware of this from watching lakes and ponds freeze over while rivers and streams are still open. We can use this same principle for keeping birdbaths open. If you live in a climate where the temperature hovers near the freezing mark without plunging into single digits, you may be able to keep your birdbath from freezing by simply keeping the water moving. Using a pump or fountain feature can accomplish this task while also helping to keep your water basin cleaner than if stagnant. Also, a solar-operated water agitator (Amazon) may work as well, though, they can also be frozen into the ice at night if temperatures are low and the battery has not built enough charge.
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Bird's Choice Stonecreek Waterfall
This decorative pump looks nice and can help keep water open, but if you have a large basin, a more basic pump can also keep your water open, though it may be more unsightly. If your temperatures drop regularly below freezing, this pump may not be enough to keep your birdbath open.
Homasy Submersible Water Pump for Birdbaths and Ponds
If you are less concerned about the looks of the birdbath, this TINY pump can move some serious water in the bath, allowing for better visibility to birds AND helping keep the water open during colder events.
Use a birdbath heater to keep your birdbath from freezing
Okay, now we are getting into the regions where cold is not a fitting enough word for the weather you experience from October to April. If you live in an area where daily temperatures peak into the single digits or negatives, you will need a powered heater, or to stop using a birdbath during the cold months.
If you have an existing birdbath basin, an easy solution is to add an electric heating component directly to your birdbath. These products can vary in size and electrical consumption, so your requirement will depend on your level of typical freezing. Typically, you will not need much more than a 50 Watt heater to keep a birdbath open. A typical-sized basin will remain open at -20°F with a 40+ Watt heater.
API Birdbath Heater & De-Icer
This birdbath de-icer is our favorite due to its clip, long cord, and better design. We love the metal design for longevity, the long, protected cable will help ensure a safe connection, and at 200 Watts, this heater will keep your birdbath ice-free in almost all conditions. It is also controlled by a thermostat that helps to minimize energy use, saving you money on your monthly electric bill.
K&H Birdbath Heater & De-Icer
This birdbath heater is a lower-wattage user and has a more 'natural' appearance. However, we do not love the design and short cord. At 80 Watts, it will keep most birdbaths open all winter. It does have a thermostat to prevent it from wasting energy when the heater is not needed. The price point is lower than the API birdbath heater above, but we would prefer to spend more on the heater with more options. However, if your winters are mild and your budget is tighter, this is a great option. If you want an even more affordable option, the 'less natural' version of this product is available here.
Heated birdbaths can prevent freezing during the winter
If you are looking for a more aesthetically pleasing or easy birdbath option for winter, there are birdbaths that have a built-in heater. The better birdbaths have significant price tags associated with them, but they rate well and will likely last for several winters if cared for properly.
Songbird Essentials Heated Birdbath
If you're looking for a free-standing birdbath that is heated, this is a great recommendation. The price tag is too much for us, but it might not scare you off easily! If you do not need a free-standing option, head to our next pick. The heater in this birdbath should be enough to keep your water open in weather down to -20°F!
GESAIL Heated Birdbath
This is our favorite option for a birdbath with a built-in birdbath heater. It has a stronger heater that is sealed within the basin, and it is controlled thermostatically. It comes with three options for mounting: deck, ground, and legs. The flexible mounting options and the quality build are what we appreciate most about this heated birdbath.
Keep your birdbath open in winter
Managing to keep your birdbath 'unfrozen' is not impossible. However, it may require a little ingenuity if you want to minimize your daily effort! Regardless of the option you choose from our ideas above, please make sure to CLEAN your birdbath weekly, at a minimum! You can also simply maintain natural water collection areas for birds to utilize instead.