When it’s cold we like to stay indoors with a hot drink, but with the very cold weather birds need an unfrozen drink too!
There are lots of ways you can make sure birds can still access water on your patch over the winter months. Here are some ideas for you to try. Find out how, below.
Animals won’t be left thirsty – not on our patch!
Make a float
Place a ping-pong ball, tennis ball or cork into your bird bath. The movement of it in the wind will keep the water moving, making it less likely to freeze. Get creative with your floats by decorating them with non-toxic pens and paints. Share your creations on social media using #BackyardNature!
Add a lining
Empty your bird bath and cover the inside with a tough plastic sheet that extends over the edges. Fill it back up with water and put your float back in. If it does freeze overnight, you won’t have to break the ice in the morning as you can just pull it out using the plastic sheet. Replace and refill.
Move the ice
Another way of removing the ice if there’s not enough wind to make your float work (or you don’t have one) is to place a pan of hot water on the surface. Do this instead of pouring hot water directly on to ice; it will have the same effect but is less likely to cause the bath to fracture if it is made out of stone!
Use the winter sun to keep your bird bath water from freezing or to help it thaw during the day by moving it to the part of your patch that gets the most hours of sunlight. Sit back and watch birds have a bath or take a drink in the sun.
Have a wildlife pond?
For ponds, use a size 3 football as a float, placing it on the pond when it is ice-free. If your pond freezes overnight, remove the ball, which should leave a round hole in the ice. Remember to replace the ball in the evening.
This activity uses hot surfaces! Grab a grown-up and ask them to help you.