As the weather cools during autumn, it's wise to take a bit of time to winterize your bird bath. In climates that experience freezing temperatures, winterizing a bird bath keeps it in good repair. And by making a few adjustments, you may be able to continue to attract birds to the garden throughout the cold months (birds also need water in winter to drink and preen).
Depending how cold the temperatures dip during the winter months in your area and what material your bird bath is made from determines what method is best to protect it. Freezing water expands about 9% and puts pressure on the edges of a bird bath. If the basin is not made of a material resistant to these effects, then repeated freezing and thawing of water will weaken and eventually break it over time.
- The first step, no matter if you keep a bird bath up and running during winter or store it away, is to clean the bath thoroughly with a diluted bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water).
- Next, determine the material your bird bath is made from and take the steps below accordingly.
Metal, Plastic or Resin?
These materials will not be damaged by ice.
- If you live in an area with temperatures below 40°F, submerge a heater in the bird bath basin.
- Residents in both warm and freezing climates should also move the bird bath from its shaded summer location to a sunnier winter spot that is protected from wind. Just as you do during warmer months, continue to refill your bird bath with clean water regularly.
Clay, Ceramic, Concrete, Solar or Glass?Bird baths made of these materials can't be winterized in regions with freezing temperatures.
- If you live in an area with freezing temperatures, empty the basin and store it upside down until the weather warms in late winter or spring. If the bird bath can't be disassembled, then cover it with a protective bag to prevent water from getting into the basin.
- If you live where temperatures stay above freezing, consider moving the bird bath from its shaded summer location to a sunnier winter spot that is protected from wind. Just as you do during warmer months, continue to refill your bird bath with clean water regularly.