Keep Your Bird Bath From Freezing With This Genius Maintenance Trick

Birdbaths are a wonderful addition to any yard. They not only give your feathered friends a nice spot to bathe and drink, but they also attract them directly to your yard, allowing you to birdwatch from your porch or kitchen window. However, most people don't get too much use out of them during the winter months, especially if you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow and icy temperatures. However, many people still choose to keep their basins out with a little bit of water in them, providing hydration for birds that don't migrate. "For birds and other wildlife, water is just as important in the cold months as it is during summer," Naturalist David Mizejewski told the National Wildlife Federation. While it's a good deed, leaving out your bird bath during the winter can be tricky since it can freeze or break without proper maintenance. Luckily, there are simple hacks you can utilize to prevent that from happening. One tip is to cover the basin with a tarp before a snowstorm or big freeze comes. 

This will make removing the snow much easier afterward since all you will need to do is drag off the plastic covering. This is a great hack to try since it's low fuss and low commitment. You don't have to buy any special gadgets or products. Instead, you can just use any leftover tarp you have stored in your garage. Here is a deeper look into the simple hack. 

How to use a tarp to protect bird baths from extreme weather

First things first: This hack won't prevent the water inside the basin from freezing during extreme weather. Instead, it will act as a protective barrier, catching the snow or ice on top of the plastic sheet rather than inside the basin. This will not only make cleanup easier, but it can also protect any decorative coating or painting inside the bowl. However, it won't act as an insulator that will keep the basin water from freezing. If you want to keep the water from freezing during a big frost, then you will need to get an immersible heater that can safely be used outdoors. Such an example is the WBU 80 Watt Bird Bath Heater, which can withstand temps down to -5 degrees Fahrenheit. 

However, if your main objective is ease of maintenance, then this hack is right up your alley! Specifically, it will keep the heaps of snow or ice from collecting inside the actual basin, negating the need for you to shovel or carefully pick it out. To use this hack, simply throw a plastic sheet over the bowl before the storm hits or the big freeze comes. If you don't have a sheet, you can also use a thick garbage bag. Ensure it drapes over all sides of the bird bath, and once the storm has passed, simply pull it off. The snow and collected ice will come off with it. 

Caveats to keep in mind

This hack works much the same way as covering your plants to protect them from frost or snow. It keeps the bulk of snow and ice off the feature, allowing you to quickly remove it by slipping the tarp off. It's also similar to the recent TikTok hack of using a tarp to keep snow off your driveway, negating the need to shovel. However, this won't work on all birdbaths, mainly because particular models are not recommended to keep outside during extreme weather. 

For example, experts suggest draining and storing indoors any bird baths made from ceramic, concrete, mosaics, or glass. That's because these materials expand and contract every time temperatures dip and then climb back up, which can lead to breakage. If the birdbath is too heavy to disassemble and move into the garage, then do the next best thing: Remove the basin top and flip it upside down so water doesn't pool in it and turn into ice blocks. You can leave plastic, metal, or resin bird baths out year-round since they fare better in those extreme weather conditions.