What is a Heated Bird Bath?

S. Mithra
S. Mithra
Heated bird baths attract birds during all seasons.
Heated bird baths attract birds during all seasons.

Birds don't disappear during the snowy, winter months, so why should your bird bath? A heated bird bath keeps liquid water at a comfortable temperature using a small heater and thermometer. This way, birds will flock to your property for a reliable drink or dip in the pool when other water sources have frozen into icicles and snowmen.

Most people winter their front and backyards by bringing in sensitive plants, folding up lawn furniture, and emptying their bird baths of water so they don't turn into skating rinks for beetles. In fact, if the water in your metal, cement, fiberglass, or plastic bird bath completely freezes, it could expand and damage the structure. A heated bird bath prevents this possibility. Fresh, liquid water gives birds that stay in town or stopover during migration to warmer climates, a peaceful, dependable water source. All birds require water not only to hydrate but also to clean their wings of heavy dirt and debris that interferes with their ability to stay warm.

Just like unheated bird baths, the heated kind comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and mountings. The only difference is a ring-shaped, immersible heater coil that's powered electrically through an ordinary cord and plug. A thermometer will turn on the heater only when the water's temperature plunges below freezing, threatening to infuse the pond with ice crystals. All you need is an outdoor electricity source and a convenient location to take advantage of this technology.

You can measure the strength of the accompanying heater by looking at how many watts it uses. Depending on the severity of your winter, the number of freezing days, and the size of the bath, you might want a heater of 50-200 watts. Compare this to operating a single light bulb for just a few hours a day; it's not expensive, and the birds will appreciate it! Some heat bird baths are rated specifically to withstand heavy snowfall or nights that dip below -20° F (-29° C). The heating apparatus, including the thermometer, heater, and electrical cord, can all be removed for the rest of the year, leaving an ordinary but beautiful bird bath.

There are so many options for a decorative and functional heated bird bath. You can select one that perfectly matches your outdoor décor. Pedestal types have a shallow bowl sitting atop a column or stand made of metal, wood, fiberglass, or cement. Some materials can be dyed to match a birdhouse or birdfeeder. Some surfaces are textured to look like pebbles, metal, or marble.

Rail-mounted varieties clip onto the ledge of a fence or deck. Since that kind is smaller and more portable, you can move it around to bring birds closer to your balcony or breakfast nook. While you're enjoying a hot cup of tea, you can be well on your way to becoming an avid birdwatcher, admiring their splashing dances. If you cannot find an integrated system with a heater and bird bath, some heaters are sold separately. You submerge the apparatus in your existing bath.

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    • Heated bird baths attract birds during all seasons.
      Heated bird baths attract birds during all seasons.