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I have used a heated bath here in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for several years. I have to clean it out at least every other day, and refill it daily. Recently I have started growing algae in the bath (despite air temps of 22!), so I guess I am not cleaning it often enough. I rarely see a bird in it, but I know they use it because there is often "poop" in it. Had to replace the heated bath once because the thermostat in it went bad, and it never turned off when temps got above 38 or so--and the water very quickly evaporated in those warmer temperatures!
Thanks for the good article on helping our feathered friends during our Northern winters. I also am using one of those bird houses/shelters that can be converted by turning around the entrance panel so the hole is at the bottom in the winter and at the top in the summer. Also it has a wooden ladder that can be placed in it during the winter so the birds have places to roost without sitting on each other.
We too use a heating element in our birdbath. One really COLD morning (around 8 degrees), a starling had just finished bathing when I noticed that instead of immediately flying away, he hopped to the edge of the birdbath and just stood there. I sensed something was wrong so I went outside. Sure enough, the birds feet were frozen to the birdbath and the wings were frozen to the body. I splashed water on the feet to release them and took the bird inside. I used my husband's blow dryer to dry the bird. My husband helped by extending the wings and spreading the tail feathers. All-in-all, the starling seemed to like what we were doing. When we finished, I released the bird outside. Just think WHAT he had to tell all his bird-friends! (I have also had to blow dry a pigeon for the same reason!) Our "heated" birdbath is extremely popular throughout the winter months. We clean and refill it every day.