Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Silicone Birdbath

For winter water changes
  (+10, -1)(+10, -1)
(+10, -1)
  [vote for,

The cold wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will cock robin do then, poor thing.
He'll sit in the barn,
And keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing, poor thing.

The first snow of the year came yesterday and got me to thinking. I feed the birds in my garden and provide drinking and bathing water. Providing water for wild birds in winter can be as important for their survival as the food put out (see link).

A major problem is that the water in the bird bath freezes. To replace it every day, you first have to remove the block of ice either by melting it, smashing it or by lining the bird bath with plastic and pulling it out in a lump. Non of these solutions are entirely satisfactory.

All of this could be solved by a flexible, silicone birdbath. Designed either to be placed on the ground or on a pedestal, the shallow leaf green or stone grey silicone birdbath is rigid enough to allow birds to perch on the edge yet can be easily turned inside out to expel frozen bath water. Simply pop out the ice, refill with fresh water and retreat to watch your grateful feathered friends come to drink and bathe.

squeak, Nov 03 2006

Birds and water http://www.rspb.org...rds/water/index.asp
From the RSPB [squeak, Nov 03 2006]

Blue Tits http://www.birdsbir...103-Blue-tits-L.jpg
[zen_tom, Nov 03 2006]

Ice Cream scoop http://cgi.ebay.com...84#ebayphotohosting
Or? Maybe? [PollyNo9, Nov 03 2006]


       I use an old non-stick pan for this exact purpose, but + for being kind to birds, and for idea of a fexible lining.
xenzag, Nov 03 2006

       Hey but non-stick is slippery. Until recently I had a glazed plant-pot saucer as a bird bath but it was hardly used. The birds much prefer non-glazed, rough surfaces so they can grip. Silicone is non-slip. I think they'd go for it.   

       P.S. It's not a lining, it's a complete birdbath made from silicone.
squeak, Nov 03 2006


       How would that be easier, exactly? I'd have to either recharge the damn thing every day or lay cables through my garden.
squeak, Nov 03 2006

       Plastic baths deform enough to pop the ice out easily. No need to invert it.   

       <ot> I'm told not to feed the birds when the temp drops here. Apparently the availability of food inhibits their migration, leaving many to freeze. </ot>
Shz, Nov 03 2006

       Or just put anti-freeze in the bird-bath.
angel, Nov 03 2006

       Or perhaps a lining *would* be good. A normal birdbath with an inner silicone lining that can be easily removed using a tab. Why not indeed? Then the silicone could be as soft as those rubber cake moulds and the birds could still perch on the edge of the rigid birdbath.   

       [21] I don't want to heat it, darn it! I want to keep it simple.
squeak, Nov 03 2006

       Okay I've seen ice cream scoops that remind me of this. Slightly different, but this is more what I imagine (see link)
PollyNo9, Nov 03 2006

       If you kept the water moving then it would lessen the chance that it would freeze over. This, of course, would require electricity like heating the basin.   

       Actually, don't birds just bathe in the snow once the snow is on the ground?
MoreCowbell, Nov 03 2006

       Hey, If I can help to get a few birds through a tough winter whose habitat has been otherwise invaded and destroyed by urban development (it doesn't just count in the rainforest y'know), I'm glad. And anyway, if I provide food and water for them, the birds will come to feed and drink in *my* garden and then I can watch them through the window and go "Oooh look, the nuthatch is here again. Isn't he marvellous" and get all excited. ( :-p yerself)
squeak, Nov 06 2006

       When I was living in St Paul Minnesota, the paper ran an article stating that heated bird baths make birds die. It is not hard to see why. Imagine you are outside and it is cold and windy. You find a hot tub and jump in. It is nice! You become warm. But then you must leave. Now you are outside and it is cold and windy, and you are soaked to the skin. You have no insulation. You die.   

       During this cold snap, birds were observed to leave bird baths, perch in nearby trees, then fall out onto the ground.
bungston, Nov 06 2006


       I think there's an important difference here between countries with different population densities, [phlish]. Where human population density is high, there is virtually no pristine space in which to go and be an industrious, self-reliant Thoreau-bird. The environment in which the bird lives and dies is inevitably human, not 'natural', and locally it's up to [squeak] to determine whether it's humane.   

       <patronizing speculation> Human city-dwellers tend to elect more interventionist governments than country-dwellers, for much the same reason, I think. </ps>
pertinax, Nov 07 2006

       Slightly off-point. It seems the German birds have some learning to do. Not many people feed wild birds here and it took me ages to even find bird feeders on sale. Now, the birds have worked out the peanut cage and the fat balls (meisenknödel they call them, heehee), but they can't make head nor tail of the seed feeder. It's a plastic tube with two perches and openings near the bottom. I don't think they've ever seen one before. They completely ignore it. All the UK garden birds know damn well that anything cylindrical hanging in a tree and periodically visited by large pink bipeds probably contains goodies and is worth investigating.
squeak, Nov 09 2006

       how do you pronounce 'meisenknödel'?
po, Dec 03 2006

       my-zen k'ner-dul   

       And it literally means "tit-dumpling"!
squeak, Dec 06 2006

       [phlish], I neglected to read the first line of your last-but-one anno. Consequently it began, "down a 12 pack in 5 minutes" which didn't seem good advice...
david_scothern, Dec 06 2006


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