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Nature & You: Provide unfrozen drinking water for your wild songbirds

Many a homeowner’s backyard has a bird bath balancing on top of a pedestal. During this season of freezing temperatures, however, wild songbirds that visit that landscape feature are greeted, likely as not, by a frozen saucer of ice. Needless to say, that is of little use to your wild, feathered friends. They are in search of drinking water, not ice.

The solution to this dilemma is an easy fix.

Here’s your excuse to make a visit to your local garden center. Make a purchase of the largest terracotta flower pot that you can afford. You’ll want the unglazed, least-fancy variety. Go ahead and buy a large, clay saucer while you are there.

When you get back home, upend the flower pot and put it in your backyard. That will house a large-wattage light bulb; the heat that is given off by the bulb will do battle with freezing air temperatures in that immediate vicinity.

Be sure to use an electrical extension cord that is rated for outdoor use.

On top of the upended flower pot, place the right-side-up clay saucer. This will be your drinking water source for your wild, feathered friends.

Prepare yourself now to have a boatload of fun. Unfrozen drinking water is a scarce commodity in the outdoor world during this winter season. Wild songbirds will flock to this welcome haven.

Neil Garrison was the longtime naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center. His email is