are heated bird baths safe

A Dangerous Winter Bath

According to an article by Pennington, bathing for birds in the winter can be dangerous. Puddles will tend to melt only when the temperature is high enough, and water on feathers won’t freeze before the birds have a chance to shake it off.

Having water like this available for birds to bathe in is something that many bird advocates may decide to buy heated birdbaths. However, heated birdbaths should be used a certain way. Birds’ feathers may become frozen when they take a heated bath in a birdbath on a chilly day.

In fact, there are documented records of starlings dropping from the sky seconds after taking off from heated birdbaths, and wet mourning dove tails freezing to branches as the water from a bath freezes. There was even an instance reported in Star Tribune where an avid bird watcher, Tami Vogel, reported recovering six cardinals in her yard “unable to fly because their feathers had frozen and they literally could not extend their wings.”

The important thing is to be able to adjust your heated birdbath so that birds can safely drink rather than bathe.

are heated bird baths safe

A heated bird bath is an excellent opportunity to attract wild birds—including the non-seed eaters— to your backyard during winter!

Why heat bird baths? Because keeping your bird bath ice-free has advantages for you, your birds, and occasionally even your bird bath itself.

It means a consistent, non-frozen water source for your backyard birds to drink from and take baths in. Water is a year-round necessity for all birds, but winter poses additional difficulties. For information on why water is essential for wild bird survival in cold, wintry weather, see Wild Birds, Winter, and Water.

It represents a fantastic chance for you and your family to draw birds to your backyard that you probably won’t be able to tempt with seed feeders. For the whole family, having a well-liked heated bird bath directly outside your window on a chilly winter’s day can bring them joy. Watch this video to see how much a variety of birds enjoy the heated bath!

By winterizing your bird bath, you can prevent it from breaking when the water expands and contracts during the freezing, thawing, and repeating process throughout the winter. You might not become aware of this silently destructive force until it’s too late. Because of this, if you don’t intend to keep your garage heated throughout the winter, we advise placing a priceless bird bath inside.

In conclusion, the following is the rationale for heating bird baths: when the temperature drops below freezing, heated baths and de-icers are essential for safeguarding your bird bath, preserving your backyard bird habitat, and continuing to feed your local birds.

Safe Ways We Can Provide Water

Thankfully, there are alternative secure methods by which we can give birds water. One method is to put out an unbreakable shallow bowl of water and then bring it back in once the ice forms. Birds will find your bowl more quickly if you leave it out every day at the same time.

Returning to the heated birdbaths, we can use them to let birds drink from them instead of bathing in them if we use them properly.

If you decide to use a heated birdbath, recommendations include obtaining a nonmetallic grille or finding another effective method of very slightly covering the bath.

Tips from the National Wildlife Federation even suggest that you can place some dark stones (this helps to absorb heat) at the bottom and some sticks on top to encourage perching. The goal is to allow birds enough room to insert their bills for drinking without being able to submerge themselves into the water.

Furthermore, think about installing an immersion-style water heater if you are currently using a heater in your birdbath to prevent the water from freezing.

Lastly, refrain from putting substances in the water that function as antifreeze, like glycerin. This mixture can cause birds’ blood sugar levels to rise and even mat their feathers, which reduces their insulation value.

are heated bird baths safe


Should you use a heated bird bath?

In summary, this is why we should heat bird baths: Heated baths and de-icers are indispensable to help you protect your bird bath, maintain your backyard bird habitat and continue supporting your local birds when temperatures are below freezing.

Do birds like warm baths?

How should I bathe my bird? Your bird will do most of the work if you supply lukewarm water. Some birds enjoy splashing in a dish of water and may try to submerge themselves in their drinking cups.

What can I put in my bird bath to keep it from freezing?

A very small amount of warm, not boiling, water can be added to the water of the birdbath to keep the temperatures above freezing.

Should I put warm water out for birds in winter?

Unfortunately, bathing in winter can be dangerous. Puddles tend to melt only when the temperature is high enough that water on feathers won’t freeze before the birds have a chance to shake it off. But when birds bathe in a heated birdbath on a frigid day, their feathers may, indeed, get iced up.