A solar bird bath heater is a great solution for keeping your feathered friends happy through the cold winter months, if you can find one. Having a good source of water along with food and shelter throughout the winter will keep birds in your yard, and using a solar heater ensures the water won't freeze without using electricity. Unfortunately, these are very difficult to find if not impossible. The truth is, the manufacture of such a product is likely cost-prohibitive.
Solar Powered Bird Baths
There are many different solar powered bird baths on the market. Most of them combine a traditional bird bath with a fountain. A solar powered pump keeps the water flowing through the bird bath.
This is a great idea because keeping the water moving eliminates stagnation, which could draw mosquitoes and other unwanted creatures to your backyard. In milder climates, water that keeps moving is also less likely to freeze.
Another type of solar bird bath uses solar power to run a light that turns on when it is dark. This makes for a pretty landscape accent but most birds sleep at night and won't be all that impressed with it.
It takes a little more hunting to find a solar bird bath heater. This is because the cost of a solar panel to collect enough sunlight during the dreary winter months would far exceed the value of the bird bath and few people would consider such a costly purchase. Solar fountains can be found easily and are helpful, but an actual solar bird bath heater is not something you are likely to locate. An electric heater is more practical and easy to find.
Some studies suggest that helping birds through the winter with a constant supply of food and water can at least double their chances of survival, so it's worth it to seek out a heated bird bath if you live in a cold climate.
Find a Solar Bird Bath and Heaters
There are two basic ways for a solar powered bird bath to be set up. The solar panels may be integrated into the bird bath itself, or there may be panels that are separate from the bath but are connected to it.
The type of bird bath you choose will determine its location in your yard. An integrated solar panel bird bath will have to be placed in the sun, while a bird bath with detached panels can be placed in shade, as long as the panels are in a sunny spot.
When shopping for a solar bird bath, you will find that many of the fountain models can be used year-round, even if they do not have a heater built into them. Check with the company you are buying the fountain from to make sure it is safe to use the fountain year round where you live.
Some places to check out for solar bird baths and heaters include:
Also, check with your local garden supply shop or wild bird center to see if they have recommendations for a solar powered bird bath or bird bath heater that can be used where you live.
Solar Bird Bath Heater Options
Admittedly, locating a solar bird bath heater is not easy. This is because the cost involved in creating a solar system to continually heat a bird bath is rather pricey. Not many backyard birders will pay the hefty price connected with such a product. One product to consider in this category is the Solar Sipper. The Solar Sipper will heat the water enough to keep it from freezing in temperatures down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. While this will not be something that fits into an existing bird bath, it is a perfect way to provide fresh water for your feathered friends when the weather gets cold.
There is also an immersion heater that you can purchase which uses batteries, not solar. It works great in a bird bath or pet bowl, but can also be an alternative when the Solar Sipper cannot get enough sun to do its job.
Another option is to use a black, plastic tub. The black plastic will absorb heat from the sun, thus creating a solar heater that will keep water fluid. Again, if you are in a very harsh climate, this may not be very effective.
If you aren't married to the idea of a solar powered heater, there are a lot more choices in the realm of electric powered bird bath heaters. These heaters hook up to your home's power and keep the water in the bird bath warm. There are serious drawbacks to using electric heat to warm your bird bath. First, you have to situate the bath close enough to the house that it can reach an outlet. Second, there will be an unsightly and potentially dangerous cord running through the yard.
Using electric power, of course, costs more than solar power, and having a cord might not be the best option around animals and children who could get tangled up or hurt themselves with the wire or the electricity.
Finding a solar powered heating solution is an investment that is unreasonable for most people. If you are not in a climate that is mild enough for a solar fountain, you will have to consider an electric or battery option to keep your bird bath from freezing.