//Water for Winter Birds

Water for Winter Birds

It’s easy to understand the relationship between winter weather and birdfeeding–after a heavy snowfall, natural foods are buried and inaccessible for most seed eating birds.  As a result, you are likely to witness a frenzy of activity at your feeder if you remove the snow and fill it when we experience these winter conditions.  This is one of the times when filling a feeder is not just for your enjoyment–your feeder can be crucial for the survival of the birds in your backyards. Water for Winter Birds

What may not be so obvious is the importance of water to the survival of over-wintering birds.  We are all familiar with the sight of a chickadee or a junco on a frigid winter morning with its feathers all “puffed out”. Underneath its downy coat is a very tiny bird that would be unable to maintain its body temperature without its clean and properly positioned plumage.  Water plays a critical role for birds, not just for drinking, but also in preening these life protecting feathers.

bird bath heater

bird bath heater

While heavy snowfall may create a frenzy at your feeder, it is a different sort of extreme winter weather that makes access to water a matter of survival in winter–prolonged cold spells with little or no snowfall.   For most birds, water in the form of ice is inaccessible for either drinking or cleaning and open water can be even more of an attraction than your feeder during these extended frozen spells.

You can help by making fresh water available with a heated bird bath or a bird bath heater.  A good bird bath heater is low wattage and/or thermostatically controlled to conserve energy, but will heat your water to just above freezing.  On cold winter days, the water vapor rising from the bath will be an additional attraction for your birds.  Try one for yourself, and then let us know whether your heated bird bath or your birdfeeder is more popular!

2017-03-20T17:28:31+00:00March 20th, 2017|Bird Feeders|0 Comments

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