As our weather begins to cool down the opportunity to encourage birds into our gardens increases. Food becomes scarce, predators become hungrier and, in some parts, water becomes too cold and freezes over. Fortunately, that’s not a problem here in our temperate climate but during the middle of winter any outdoor water will become bitterly cold.
So, you’ve gone and built your garden bird feeder to attract the wild birds scavenging for seed but have you contemplated their water source?
You probably already have a garden bird bath strategically located need the feeder enticing them to wash and play but open closer inspection the water is so cold your testing finger becomes numb the moment it hits the surface. Not only will it not tempt the birds in for a splash, chances are they won’t even try and avail themselves of the facilities for a drink either.
The only option is to create a heated bird bath – yes, it is possible. And the concept is very similar to installing outdoor garden lighting, yet less involved and can be completed in less than an hour.
How to Install a Heated Bird Bath
The beauty of a heated bird bath is that you don’t need to buy a purpose built model. The bird bath that currently adorns your yard is very suitable and won’t require any modifications at all.
To start with you need to purchase a bird bath heater which are becoming quite common and much cheaper. They’re very low wattage which makes them safe for you and the birds that will come in contact with them – hopefully not electrocuting them as they come in for a drink.
Most bird bath heaters come with a hard-wired cord that can easily be connected into an extension cord running from an external power point. The extension cord will obviously run through your garden beds so you can either leave it above the soil and remove once the weather improves or bury it out of the way.
WARNING: Burying your power cords is a dangerous practice so it pays to get an electrician to install your power cord correctly. This will require some heavy digging and long trenches so to make it cheaper on your wallet try locating the bird bath as close as you can to a power source.
Opting for the removable extension cord is possibly the best method as you won’t require your bird bath heated all year round. The coldest months from late autumn to early spring are the only times that these will be needed so save your money and live with the temporary cord – you won’t be able to do much digging in the garden anyway.
Solar Bird Bath
Another option that some gardeners are utilising is the use of solar panels as an energy source. While these are more costly than a cord and certainly more time-consuming to install, they offer gardeners many benefits. Firstly, while it may need to be installed by a qualified electrician there is no need for any back-breaking trenches. Plus, the energy source is free – once you’ve paid for the equipment.
So, now that you’ve gone to all the trouble to entice your wild birds into your garden go the extra mile and make sure their water source is available all year round as well.