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Birdbaths in Winter

Baby, it's cold outside! Keep that birdbath thawed!
© John Ryan View Large

Does the image of a frozen birdbath bring to mind a small yellow bird with ice skates? Birds need water in all seasons, for drinking and for bathing. When the water is frozen, you can thaw it with hot water. Or go the slightly more expensive route and add a heater.

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Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Birdbaths in Winter
Written by Ellen Blackstone

This is BirdNote. [Splatter of birds bathing] 

It's 27° outside, and a robin is rolling and flopping in the birdbath, flinging water every which-way. What on earth is it thinking? Isn't it going to freeze to death with all that water on its feathers? Well, it turns out that bathing in winter actually helps birds' feathers protect them from the cold. The bath washes away particles of dirt that might otherwise prevent the feathers from their water-proofing work. And it probably also helps remove parasites. 

Birds need water in all seasons, for drinking and for bathing. [Splatter of birds bathing] 

When the water is frozen, you can thaw it with hot water. Or go the slightly more expensive but easier route by adding a heater.

Some things to keep in mind: In winter, it’ll help to put the birdbath on the south side of the house, or in the spot that gets the most sun, or against a sheltered wall. Place it no more than six feet from a tree or shrub, so the birds can fly to cover if a predator comes along. [Sparky the Cat]

If you supply winter birds with water, [Single Red-breasted Nuthatch, plus chat-ter of nuthatches and chickadees] you’ll be doing them a great service – and you might attract some really fascinating customers.

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Bird calls provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Red-breasted Nuthatches foraging by W.L. Hershberger.
'SFX 02 Wind Moderate Soft' from Nature Sound Essentials recorded by Gordon Hempton of Quiet-Planet.org
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org     January 2017    Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#010506bath bath-01b

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