Fresh water

This should not be a big revelation, but a source of unfrozen water is very attractive to small birds in the winter.   Usually, I put the bird bath away in the fall, but this year I added a small heater that is supposed to keep the water temperature just above freezing  — and all the backyard birds have been flocking to it each morning.

I call this my "goldfinch clock", because they arranged themselves so nicely around the rim.

I call this my “goldfinch clock”, because they arranged themselves so nicely around the rim.  No one seemed to want the 12 o’clock position.

Sometimes there are minor squabbles over favorite positions, and youngsters dare not encroach on space occupied by adults (the one with the yellowish head being aggressive here).

Sometimes there are minor squabbles over favorite positions, and youngsters dare not encroach on space occupied by adults (the one with the yellowish head being aggressive here).

Even the Red-bellied Woodpecker likes this arrangement.

Even the Red-bellied Woodpecker likes this arrangement.

When an ice skin forms on the ponds overnight and there isn’t any snow to eat yet, a bird could get pretty dehydrated waiting around for the daytime temps to warm up above freezing.

12 thoughts on “Fresh water

  1. It’s obvious that birds need water, but I guess that I have never really thought about the challenges they face when the temperatures drop and the water freezes. I love your sundial shot and the woodpecker shot is adorable, thanks to the angle that you chose.

    • The goldfinches are thirsty little guys, and they are the first ones to the water in the morning. I hardly ever see chickadees stop for a drink, and never see nuthatches drink. Perhaps they get enough water from eating insects and spiders??

    • I’m guessing that deer would probably stomp a hole in the ice. Being ruminants with a big gut full of water, you would think that they would need to drink a lot each day. But who knows? But what would tree squirrels do — they don’t hibernate and are out running around in the frosty mornings. Actually, the squirrels do jump up for a drink at the bird feeder every now and then.

  2. I used to put the birdbath away in the winter but always felt bad when the birds would hang around the empty space looking for water. So a few years ago I bought a birdbath with a built-in heater and mounted it on my deck railing. The birds are happy now and I get great views of them right outside my window. I notice the squirrels using it a lot too.

    • I don’t know why I did’nt do this sooner — just lazy I guess. I am curious to find out how much this heater adds to the electric bill though.

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