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Winter Water, Keep it Thawed and Fresh
November 18, 2019
The temperatures continues to be well below normal.
We've experienced single digit lows and bone chilling wind chills, here in my part of Michigan.
Many part of the country have experienced cold and even record amounts of snow for this time of year.
Much of Michigan was blessed with several of the white stuff
A Maple tree still holding onto fall colors as snow clings to the branches.
A typical winter scene shows snow on the branches of pine and spruce trees.
Wildlife is more active in the snow and cold, to the point some deer visit yards and mingle in streets.
Birds welcome free food as well.
The weekend was cool, but lots of sunshine, a rare commodity this time of year for us.
Still, we continue to be blessed.
We are healthy.
The fur kids are doing well.
God is Good.
I mention the importance of keeping water sources clean on a regular basis.
This letter helps you to not only keep water fresh and clean, but helps you in heating sources and what kind of bath, or container helps to keep your birds and wildlife safe.
All life needs water.
And winter can make it difficult for birds to find fresh water.
Yes, birds can and do eat snow when they are thirsty, but this drives down a bird's body temperature and that takes more energy to drive the temperature back up.
Energy needed to survive a cold winter's night.
To much energy spent now may mean death tonight.
Offer fresh water and for many of you, that means some kind of a heater during winter.
Once again, look for a heater that has some quality.
Thermostat controlled (turns on at 40 degrees or so) and a warranty.
Make sure your water source is close enough to protection and close enough for electrical hook up.
Use a good outdoor extension cord and plugged into an outlet that is wired to or is a "Ground Fault Interrupter" (GFI) outlet.
Protect connecting ends with plastic wrap and duct tape, if water seeps in it will throw a circuit breaker.
If this happens to you, your water source may freeze and possibly crack a good birdbath.
A bad connection or faulty heater will through the circuit, letting you know there is a problem somewhere and a GFI will prevent other electrical issues.
Solar sippers can be an option as long as your temperature don't get below 20 degrees above zero.
Colder than that and they become ineffective.
Sunshine helps too (not much of that around here during the winter).
If you are creative, you can use a light bulb in a flower pot under a saucer as a heater.
Don't worry about birds freezing in the water or wet feet sticking to metal perches.
All birds except hummingbirds have a nice under layer of down feathers that keep them dry and help to keep them warm.
A bird's scale like feet and legs do not sweat and blood flow slows down in the bird's legs during winter to save heat and preserve energy.
Just the opposite as in the summer.
Be sure water is near protection and keep it filled and fresh.
You may find more water is lost from evaporation than actual bird use on real cold days.
Keep the rim of your water source free from ice build up, and place a flat rock or brick in your water for birds to stand on and keep your heater in place.
As you can see by now, it helps to have your feeding and water station a bit closer to the house.
Toting feed and water every day can be a burden on long treks in snowy, cold conditions.
Another reason to have things closer to home.
A course or rough surface helps with footing.
A smooth, porcelain type surface often leads to a bird landing and sliding right into the water.
An inexperienced bird will have trouble and sometime drown.
This is also another reason for having a stone or brick in the middle of a deeper bath, or tub.
A clean and thawed water source also allows mammals to come in for a drink.
While all creatures will eat snow for water, the below freezing temperatures of snow and ice accelerates the lowing of the body temperature.
Once again, during the time when birds and animals are using more energy to keep warm, eating snow isn't the wisest thing for them to do.
Keeping Things Clean.
Water sources still need to be kept clean as do feeders.
In between cleaning, a cap or two of bleach in the bath will keep down algae and germs, but it doesn't replace a good cleaning.
Water will evaporate quickly in the form of steam.
Keep your water topped off.
Feeders can be sprayed with rubbing alcohol in between good cleanings.
It evaporates very quickly with no harm for the birds.
Winter bird feeding is a blessing and great joy.
With some planning ahead and some strategic relocating, you can enjoy your birds and wildlife even more this winter.
Keep a pair of binoculars handy
Maybe a bird guide
and possibly keep a list.
Who knows, you may spot a rare bird or one that is totally out of its element.
Bottom line, make things as easy as possible for you and as safe for the birds as possible.
Well, it is time to fly for now.
Before I go, here is your positive thought of the week.
"Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones."
Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) American Bishop
Some words on Character in the word of God.
"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."
"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies."
"Treat the earth well:
It was not given to you by your parents,
It was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our
Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."
Ancient Indian Proverb.
Your friend indeed,
Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.
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