User Posts: Joy Thurlow

A beautiful rustic red cedar bird bath in the classic pedestal style. We review the Songbird Essentials Heated Bird Bath.

6.9Expert ScoreQuick SummaryA distinctive Western Red Cedar frame makes the SE 501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath stand out from other deck mounted bird baths. ...

8.5Expert ScoreQuick SummaryThe API 250 Watt Bird Bath De-Icer will keep your bird bath ice-free all winter long, even in sub-sub-zero temperatures. It has a ...

7.5Expert ScoreQuick SummaryFarm Innovators HBC-120 Heated Birdbath with Deck Mount is an attractive and rugged unit that is easy to empty and clean. It's a ...

8.5Expert ScoreQuick SummaryIf you want a large heated bird bath you can care for from the convenience of your deck, this one should be on your short list. ...

Water is possibly the single most important resource you can give your birds in winter. And the best way to do that in winter is by keeping a heated bird ...

8Expert ScoreQuick SummaryA powerful bird bath heater for chilly winter nights. With its extra-long cord and substantial weight, the Songbird Essentials ...

Is there anything more uplifting in the dead of winter than the sight and sound of a bright red cardinal? No wonder so many people want to know how to attract ...

IS there such a thing as a bird feeder that is squirrel proof?Yes, with a couple of important cautions:First, a truly starving animal can break into ...

If you’re asking this question, you’re probably really asking, “Will the dishwasher damage my bird feeder?” What you should be asking is, “Is it safe *for me ...

Browsing All Comments By: Joy Thurlow
  1. Hi Raj,
    After double checking, I found that I had indeed put the wrong name on this photo. I apologize for that, and for any inconvenience it may have caused you. Thanks for calling the error to my attention – it has now been corrected. You are an awesome photographer, BTW!

  2. Hi Lois,
    Wow, that must be so cute! I would GUESS that a heater *used according to the instructions that came with it*, would be as safe for squirrels as for birds. HOWEVER, if you want to be really sure you should contact the manufacturer.
    I’m not a squirrel expert, but again I would GUESS that they wouldn’t chew on it unless they thought there was food inside. They might chew on the insulation on the cord though.
    Hope this helps!

  3. Hi Sharon,
    Thanks for your question!
    I think a hotplate might be risky. I wouldn’t trust any of the ones I’ve had to stay at a safe temperature. Plus, they’re not meant for outdoor use. If it was on and something knocked it over, it would create a fire and/or electrocution hazard.

  4. Thanks Jessica! Glad to be of some help!

  5. Hi John,
    You’re probably not doing any harm and you are saving the birds from eating any loose material, which they can’t digest or eliminate.

    A rough surface actually helps birds keep their footing in the water though, and your bird bath is fairly old. Some plastics do break down over time and sanding may be contributing to this process.

    Hope this helps!

  6. Hi Karen,
    I don’t think trash bags would be safe for birds. If it becomes tattered and they eat some of it, they won’t be able to digest it. So it will build up in their little tummies and eventually they’d starve to death. Not the outcome we’re looking for!

    You could maybe make this work by lining the lampshade with a glass or plastic bowl BUT…

    The lampshade is probably not made of materials intended to stand up to outdoor use. Also, where there are birds, there is bird poop. Will you be able to clean that off without damaging the surface? Another thing to consider is that the inner metal may rust quite quickly, spoiling your lovely bird bath.

    I would recommended using an “actual” bird bath instead. Hope this helps!

  7. Congratulations on your new home! And good luck on the birdbath problem!

  8. You’re very welcome! Glad to be of service.

  9. That is so cool! I wish you could send pictures too!

  10. Hi Ed,
    You have my sympathy – your neighbor should be more responsible with her birds. You should probably make sure your local or state level government doesn’t have a law protecting them. Most don’t, because the birds are not native to North America, but there are a few that do. You wouldn’t want to run “afowl” of them!

  11. Hi Jim,
    GSE is non-toxic, so either should work.

  12. Not sure that would be legal :). Or that raptors eat woodpeckers…. If you can get raptors to hang around, that *might* scare the woodies away.

  13. Hi Deborah,
    As I noted in the article, peafowl do cause dissention among neighbors and they can become quite a problem over time. These birds are not native and are therefore not protected under the Migratory Birds act. It is legal to disturb them and their nests and even to exterminate them. However, some jurisdictions have enacted local laws prohibiting harming these birds, so check out your situation before taking any action.

    You may want to have a pest control company remove it, or see if your local pound can rehome it in a rural area. Possibly you could have it captured and taken to a vet to be euthanized. Whatever you do, act quickly before your neighbors fall in love with this beautiful pest.

  14. Thanks March, great comment!

  15. Hi Debbie,
    Congrats on your new bird bath – I’m sure your birds will love it! Whether it can sit directly on the ground sort of depends on what type of bath it is and what the ground conditions are. It’s very, very important to make sure that if you use an extension cord, it’s one that’s made specifically for outdoor use, and that it’s plugged in to a GFI (ground fault interrupt) outdoor electrical outlet, to prevent electric shocks. It’s also a good idea to get one of those cord sealers to make sure moisture can’t get into the connection between the bird bath and the extension cord.

    You might be able to use a plant stand or a chair as a platform for the bird bath.
    Hope this helps,

  16. I’m sorry to hear that. Did you receive instructions with the bird bath? Sometimes API forgets to include them. There’s a PDF you can download here: that might help. Just copy and paste the link into your web browser.

  17. Hi David,
    I’m so glad you weren’t injured! I don’t know whether ACE Hardware will replace it for you – that depends on their store policies. You may actually need the receipt to prove you bought it there, or at least a record of the transaction on your bank statement or credit card.

    Before returning it, try it again with an extension cord designed for outdoor use that is plugged in to a properly grounded outdoor electrical outlet. This would be a GFI (ground fault interrupt) outlet that is meant for use on the outside of your house.

    I hope this helps!

  18. Hi Jim,
    I honestly don’t know the answer to that question, but here’s what I think: it would be best to avoid any direct contact between the pump and your heater. Bird bath heaters are known to overheat if not kept fully covered with water, so if that should happen (or if the corrosion allows a short-out), it could possibly damage your pump. If there’s enough depth in the bird bath to allow for it, you could try placing a ceramic tile between the heater and the pump, for insulation.
    Hope this helps,

  19. Hi Laura,
    If you’re referring to the API 14B, which I mentioned as a possible alternative, that bird bath is a quite bit smaller – only 14 inches wide vs 20 inches for the API 650. It (the AP 14B) also comes with a pole so you don’t need to mount it on a deck railing.
    Hope this helps!

  20. Hi Marie,
    I think the API 650 (review here: is probably the overall best heated birdbath. This one is a deck mounted, fairly large bird bath. If you want something smaller that can be mounted on a pole, I’d suggest the API 14B – see it on Amazon here: (affiliate link.)
    Hope this helps!

  21. There are bird-safe chemicals you can add to your bird bath which will help with the mosquito problem. You could also try a Water Wiggler, as mosquitos won’t lay their eggs in moving water. For more detail, please see
    my article on cleaning bird baths: There’s a section on mosquito control that will tell you all you need to know.
    Hope this helps,

  22. Thank you so much – glad to be of service!

  23. Good question! If it was just once and there are no immuno-compromised people in your household, just run it (empty but with detergent) on “Sanitize” and you should be okay. Please note that this is not medical advice, and if you’re really worried you should consult a doctor.
    Hope this helps!

  24. Hi Mark,
    Thanks for sharing your perspective on this. I envy you your beautiful companions and am glad you’re having a good experience. However, a semi-rural area is much better able to accommodate these birds than a city, where they do cause a few problems.
    Best regards,

  25. Hi there,
    Thanks for reaching out. This image is for sale on both Adobe Stock (where I purchased it) and Shutterstock and the originator’s name is listed as “Suttisak”. I’m not sure why I should credit you? Please explain.

  26. Hi Natalie,
    That sounds awful – you have my sympathies!!

    The answer to “Now what?” depends on what kind of woodpecker it was and why it was pecking your house. If it was feeding on bugs inside the wood, an exterminator may be able to get rid of the bugs that are attracting the birds. Then treat/seal the wood (annually) with a product that discourages the bugs. You can cover the damaged areas with sheet metal in the short term.

    If you live in acorn woodpecker territory, i.e. the Pacific or Southwest regions, you may have to replace all your wood trim with something the birds can’t make holes in. (Learn more about what kinds of woodpeckers are found in your region here.)

    If the damage is in just a couple of areas, installing netting to keep the birds away could be the answer.

    Hope this helps,

  27. Hi Patrick,
    I wasn’t able to find instructions for the model 650, but the 14B uses the same mount so those instructions should be adequate. If not, you could try contacting the company and requesting a copy. This product is made by Miller Manufacturing – here’s their phone number:

    Miller Manufacturing
    7:00 AM to 5:00 PM CST

    Hope this helps,

  28. Hi Silver,
    Thanks for sharing your experiences. It sounds like the birdies were a lot of fun for the kids. However, it’s probably better to take orphaned and injured birds to a wildlife rehab center than to care for them yourself. The rehabbers will know what’s best for the birds, and you will avoid exposing yourself and kids to the many diseases (60+) that wild birds commonly carry.

  29. Hi Shannon,
    If the woodpecker is only drumming (not feeding), it will stop in a few weeks so unless it really bothers you, there’s no need to take action.

    Visual and sound-based deterrents don’t really work as birds quickly figure out that there’s no actual danger. Reflective tape sometimes works, but doesn’t look that great. Unless your other birds hang out where the woodpeckers are drumming, the tape shouldn’t bother them at all.
    Best wishes,

  30. Hi Margaret,
    Board and batten siding, especially if it’s made of any kind of wood, will always have spaces where bugs can get in unless it’s made as a solid piece that only *looks* like real board and batten. If bugs (ie food) are present, the birds will be motivated to keep coming back.

    Things you could try:
    Netting will keep them away for good, but is expensive.
    Multiple strips of reflective tape don’t look so great, but they do have some success.

    You could also try placing one or more suet feeders for woodpeckers well away from your house, to attract the birds to a more appealing source of food.

    The cement siding will probably deter them eventually, but it may take them a few weeks to catch on.

    Good luck!

  31. Hi Mary Lou,
    A couple of thoughts: most deicers only bring the temperature to just above freezing, so cold water is to be expected. If there was no ice in your birdbath and the outside temperature was below freezing, your deicer is working as it should.
    Otherwise, not keeping the deicer submerged could ruin it, although usually not on the first instance.

    I’d suggest returning it to the bird bath, making sure the water covers it (weight it down with a rock so it won’t float, if necessary) and watching to see how it goes.

    Good luck!

  32. Right you are Patricia – thanks for spotting that!!! Now corrected.

  33. Hi Rebecca,
    I’m so sorry to hear you’re having so much trouble!
    Netting will be expensive (ouch!) but it’s the one thing you can be sure works.

    Do you know whether the birds are trying to nest or feeding? If they’re feeding, an exterminator might be able to help you get rid of the bugs that are attracting the woodpeckers.

    If it’s nesting (or roosting), you could try getting a few snags (dead trees or portions thereof) and placing them away from your house. Add some suet feeders to attract the birds and this might encourage them to nest elsewhere. For a very few kinds of woodpeckers, nest boxes might be a solution as well.

    What species of woodpecker(s) are you dealing with?

  34. Hi Patricia – nice to hear from you again!
    Yeah, it’s amazing what goes on in the dishwasher germ-wise. I really can’t believe that manufacturers actually recommend putting feeders in the dishwasher!

Joy of Birdwatching