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How to Keep Bird Bath From Freezing?

how to keep bird bath from freezing

If you like birdwatching, having a birdbath in your yard will make your hobby much more enjoyable. However, if you live in an area where the winters hit hard and early, you need to know how to keep bird baths from freezing.

You cannot keep the water in your bird bath from completely freezing during the winter months. However, you can do something to keep the contents liquid for a bit longer, at least until all the birds in your area have migrated. This article will teach you a couple of methods on how you can do just that.

Step-by-Step Guide

Fill the Bird Bath with Warm Water

how to keep bird bath from freezing without electricity

One way how to keep a bird bath from freezing without electricity is to just refill it with warm water. This will not prevent the water from freezing but it will greatly slow down the process.

What to prepare:

  • Enough warm water to fill the birdbath

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Empty the birdbath

Every other day, you should empty the birdbath. You can clean it while you are at it, but you can just do it once a week. During the colder months of the year, even if the water is not that dirty yet, you should empty the basin more frequently.

Step 2 – Fill the basin with warm water

You will need to heat some water. However, there is no need to use boiling water. It just needs to be warm enough to keep it from freezing quickly. You do not even need to heat all the water.

You can just partially fill the basin with tap water, and then pour a kettle of hot water in it. The water should be at the right temperature. This method may be a bit more labor-intensive, but it is quite effective nonetheless.

Make the Surface of the Basin Darker

make the surface of the basin darker

You can use physics in your favor to keep the water from freezing solid. Black surfaces tend to absorb light and heat from sunlight more than lighter colors. Use this to your advantage.

What to prepare:

  1. Black marbles or pebbles
  2. Black plastic sheeting
  3. Black ceramic plate

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Empty and clean the basin

Since you will be refilling the birdbath, you should take the time to clean it properly. Tip the basin to remove the old water and then clean the surface as thoroughly as you can.

Step 2 – Place black items in the basin

If you do not have black marbles or pebbles, you can use a big enough sheet of black plastic. If you don’t have any of the materials mentioned, you can use an old black (or dark-colored) ceramic dish. Ideally, you should place as many black items as you can.

Step 3 – Refill the birdbath

After placing the black or dark-colored items inside the birdbath, you can start refilling the basin. Ideally, you should put warm water in the basin just to make it easier for the birdbath to remain unfrozen.

Install a Birdbath De-Icer

install a birdbath de-icer

A bird bath de-icer is a low-power water heater. It already comes with a built-in thermostat so you don’t have to turn it on and off manually.

What to prepare:

A birdbath de-icer

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Remove the old water and clean the basin

Even if the water in the birdbath is just a couple of days old, it would be best to replace it now while you are making modifications to it anyway. In addition, the de-icer will work better with clean water.

Step 2 – Install the de-icer

You do not have to do any hard modifications on your birdbath when installing the de-icer. You just have to drop the gadget in the water and plug it into the wall socket. However, you need to make sure that there is a nearby power outlet. If not, then you may need to get a lengthy extension cord.

In addition, if you do not want the wire of the de-icer hanging loosely, you can use a bit of tape or zip ties to secure it to the side of the birdbath.

Tips to Keep Your Birdbath Safe During the Winter

If you live in an area where the winters can get pretty harsh, it would be near impossible to keep your birdbath from freezing over. So during the months when the birds have all flown south, the only thing that you can do is prevent damage to your birdbath. Here’s how:

Empty the birdbath before it snows

Water expands when it turns into ice, and when it does, it puts a lot of pressure on the sides of the birdbath basin. This might cause your birdbath to develop cracks later. So, before the winter hits, make sure to drain the birdbath completely.

Cover the basin

You need to prevent snow from collecting inside the birdbath basin and to do that, you will have to place a cover on top. If you have a large enough pot cover, use that. However, if you don’t, you can use a piece of plywood instead. Snow will still pile up on top of your makeshift lid, so make sure that you shake off the snow every other day.

Bring the birdbath indoors

If you are using a bird bath with a metal frame and removable basin, it is best if you just dismantle it and store it away for the winter. This will ensure that the frame will not get rusty and prevent the basin from cracking.


It is important to know how to keep bird baths from freezing during the winter. Not only will doing this allow birds to use the bath even when it is starting to get chilly outside but it will also protect the bath from damage.

As you can see, the methods mentioned above are not difficult at all and require no physical modifications to the bird bath. You should try at least one of the methods mentioned above to keep your birdbath in top condition.

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