Although many garden bird watching fans provide bird food through the winter, fresh, clean water is just as vital for bird’s survival through the cold.

 House Sparrow:: Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com)

Birds need to keep their feathers in good condition through preening, splashing and bathing in water so that the tiny contour feathers, close to the body can be fluffed up to create a layer of warm air. That’s why some birds look a little “plumper in the winter”. As warm blooded creatures, they actually need to keep their body temperature around 40°C which is of course even higher than our 37°C.

Frozen ice can often be too thick for bird's bills to break and would take up valuable survival energy, birds also can’t “drink” snow .

So when you’re putting your bird seed out through the winter, do check on the bird baths and keep them topped up, clean and free of ice. There are some tips from the RSPB on how to make the the perfect bird bath plus a selection to buy from the online shop

Gardens illustrated also feature their 14 favourite bird baths.

Perhaps a floating pine cone instead of a ping pong ball might keep the ice at bay? Something to experiment with!


The Flatford Wildlife Garden is now closed for the rest of the winter season 2020 /2021. Details of re-opening in 2021 will be posted on this blog and the Flatford Wildlife Garden We­­­bsite.

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