How to Provide Water for Backyard Birds in Winter

| Care, Video

Providing a supply of fresh water is one of the best ways to attract birds to your garden and landscape, but this becomes a challenge in winter when water sources freeze over. If you want birds to come, you’ll need to make your bird bath or pond available to them every single day of the year.



Birds sometimes struggle to find water in freezing conditions or dry spells, especially in urban settings. So, if you do put water out for them every day, they will find it and they will appreciate it. But you don’t need a big fancy pond or an expensive bird bath to attract birds. Any open container will work — even an overturned lid. 


Blackbird sitting on a birdbath

You don’t need a fancy birdbath or pond to supply birds with water throughout the winter.


A rock placed in the middle of the container will give birds a place to land and drink, and they’ll jump into the water to bathe, too. The water should be replaced and containers should be scrubbed out whenever they become dirty.

If freezing is an issue where you live, there’s no reason to become discouraged. There is a simple fix: a de-icer, available online and at bird stores. Look for one that is appropriately sized for the area you are trying to de-ice. They range in size from bird bath de-icers to pond de-icers.

It’s not just birds who benefit. Wildlife of all kinds will be on the lookout in winter for fresh water, and you’ll be doing nature a favor by ensuring animals have a source that never freezes.


bees drinking water

Supplying a fresh water source throughout winter helps wildlife of all kinds.


Do you provide drinking water in your yard for wild birds? Let us know in the comments below.

Links & Resources

Some product links in this guide are affiliate links. See full disclosure below.

Episode 20: Gardening for the Birds with Margaret Roach

Episode 76: How to Create a Bird-Friendly Yard

Episode 134: Bird Population Decline and What Gardeners Can Do to Help

Episode 142: Why Our Plant Choices Matter: Nature’s Best Hope, with Doug Tallamy

joegardenerTV YouTube: How to Protect Birds in Winter

joegardener Online Gardening Academy™: Three popular courses on gardening fundamentals; managing pests, diseases & weeds; and seed starting!

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Master Seed Starting: Everything you need to know to start your own plants from seed — indoors and out. 

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Growing a Greener World® 


GGW Episode 526: Backyard Birds

GGW Episode 604: Creating Certified Wildlife Habitats

Corona® Tools – Video sponsor and Brand Partner of

*Disclosure: Some product links in this guide are affiliate links, which means we would get a commission if you purchase. However, none of the prices of these resources have been increased to compensate us. None of the items included in this list have any bearing on any compensation being an influencing factor on their inclusion here. The selection of all items featured in this post and podcast were based solely on merit and in no way influenced by any affiliate or financial incentive, or contractual relationship. At the time of this writing, Joe Lamp’l has professional relationships with the following companies who may have products included in this post and podcast: Rain Bird, Corona Tools, Milorganite, Soil3, Park Seed, Exmark, and Wild Alaskan Seafood Box. These companies are either Brand Partners of and/or advertise on our website. However, we receive no additional compensation from the sales or promotion of their product through this guide. The inclusion of any products mentioned within this post is entirely independent and exclusive of any relationship.

About Joe Lamp'l

Joe Lamp’l is the creator and “joe” behind joe gardener®. His lifetime passion and devotion to all things horticulture has led him to a long-time career as one of the country’s most recognized and trusted personalities in organic gardening and sustainability. That is most evident in his role as host and creator of Emmy Award-winning Growing a Greener World®, a national green-living lifestyle series on PBS currently broadcasting in its tenth season. When he’s not working in his large, raised bed vegetable garden, he’s likely planting or digging something up, or spending time with his family on their organic farm just north of Atlanta, GA.

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