Ice free drinking water
Birds need clean water for both drinking and bathing whatever the weather. We know you put out clean water for your garden visitors during the drought but please don’t forget they will need the same support as the temperature falls and natural sources of water freeze over.
If you can, put the bird bath in a place where it will catch any sunlight going. This will raise the temperature of both the container and its contents: when it comes to water, there is only one degree difference between solid and liquid.
Fill the bath with warm water regularly and check during the day that it hasn’t frozen. You could try putting a ping pong ball in the water so that the slightest breeze will move the ball around enough to keep a small area ice free.
Lining the bath with canvas or a polythene sheet might work. You could lift it right out along with the ice; it will be a lot easier to refill the bath if you don’t have to melt the ice first.
Avoid adding anything to the water. Salt, for instance, might lower the freezing point of your bird bath but it will make the birds ill. Never add chemicals such as glycerine or anti-freeze: they can strip feathers of their waterproofing if the birds bathe or poison them if they drink.
Header image: by Tim Ellis (CC BY-NC 2.0) flickr.com