The importance of water over winter

According to the RSPB, many people put out food for birds, but fewer provide a regular supply of clean water. Hydration is absolutely essential for any living animal; for birds over the winter months it is more so for the fact that natural supplies may be frozen.

 

“It is a fact that most small birds must drink at least twice per day to replenish lost water.”

 

Why is water so important?

You may or may not know this, but birds do not have sweat glands, so in principle they require less water than mammals due to their ability to retain more water. However, this isn’t to say birds don’t lose any water. Of course they do, and it is mainly through respiration and droppings.

Depending upon the specific dietary requirements of a bird, for instance one that eats mainly seeds, there may be a different level of rehydration needed. Despite this, most birds get the majority of their water from the food they eat, for instance grubs, caterpillars and earthworms.

Water, being as abundant as it is, can be taken from a variety of sources such as ponds, streams and even droplets that form on the end of leaves. In fact, this is particularly common among forest-dwelling birds.

Preventing water from freezing

Birds visiting gardens in search of alternative food supplies over winter may also be looking for a source of water. This you can provide by putting out a dish or, if you prefer, something more decorative like a bird bath. It is important to try to prevent water that gathers from freezing, as birds will not be able to easily access the supply.

A variety of solutions are available, the most cost-effective of which being the use of a ping pong ball, which moves around in the water as the wind blows, preventing the water from freezing. In extreme cases of cold weather, this method may not work, and in such a scenario it is advisable to use a safe ice-free solution such as that made by ecOpond.

Winter bathing

Bathing can help garden birds keep their feathers in good condition. This process of dampening helps to release any dirt that gathered on and stuck to the feathers; cleaning makes it easier for birds to preen, which is critical for a bird because preening help to rearrange feathers in order to make them waterproof.

The Verdegris stone-effect bird bath is an ideal decorative piece for any garden.

Top wild bird winter products

Ice Free for Bird Baths

This eco-friendly product is formulated from plant extracts to suppress the freezing point of water in bird baths and other small garden water features, and is completely harmless for birds to drink and bathe in.

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Ultiva® Autumn and Winter Seed Mix

Ultiva® Autumn & Winter seed mix is a specially-formulated mixture of high energy, oil-rich seeds and grains that feature black sunflower seeds, naked oats and white dari.

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Premium Suet Balls

Our premium suet balls each contain over 90g of high grade beef suet, wheat, peanuts and added dried mealworms too! We guarantee your garden visitors will love this new recipe!

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Premium Wild Bird Sunflower Hearts

These highly nutritious and oil-rich sunflower hearts for wild birds come without the husks of complete sunflower seeds.

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