Songbird Essentials SE 501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath

6.9Expert Score
Quick Summary

A distinctive Western Red Cedar frame makes the SE 501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath stand out from other deck mounted bird baths. The 14-inch basin keeps water liquid using only 60 watts. Easy to install but requires some assembly.

Effectiveness
10
Durability
7.5
Cord Length
3
Value
7
We Liked
  • Wide rim has room for several birds
  • Very easy to install
  • Controlled by internal thermostat
  • Easy to empty and clean
  • Mounts on railings up to 14 inches wide
We Didn't Like
  • Assembly requires tools
  • Small, shallow bowl needs frequent refills
  • Needs outdoor extension cord

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Songbird Essentials SE501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath Review

Photo of Songbird Essentials SE501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath
SE501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath

The rustic red cedar stand of the SE 501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath is a nice addition to a wood deck railing and could almost be a home-made design. (In a good way.)

If you’re handy with an electric screwdriver and enjoy assembling kits this bird bath will be a fun project.

The SE 501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath is so shallow that it’s really more of a drinking station than a place for birds to bathe.

If you buy this product, you’ll notice that the basin is a bit shallower in the center than at the edges. This is due to the heating element being sealed between two layers of plastic.

Water evaporates fast in dry or windy winter weather, and the very shallow basin means you should expect to be refilling this bird bath at least daily.

Table of Contents

Who is this product for?

The frame of the SE 501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath needs assembly but isn’t too difficult for those of us who aren’t master carpenters. 

The gorgeous cedar wood and rustic design could be the perfect complement to your wood deck.

But if you live in an area where winter temperatures regularly get colder than -10º F (-23º C), this might not be the right heated bird bath for you. 

What's included?

The SE 501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath kit includes a heated bird bath basin with power cord, along with all the wood pieces and hardware you’ll need to assemble the unit and mount it on your deck railing.

Overview of Features

The nicest feature of the SE 501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath is the pretty red cedar frame. Just rustic enough to look handmade, the natural wood goes well with most decks.

The 60-watt heater kicks in when temperatures drop below 35º F (2º C) and shuts down at 50º F (10º C)

It looks great. It works great even in  a Maine winter with a number of nights below zero and a temperature that  never got above freezing during the day. 

You can set the SE 501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath on a flat surface or mount it on your deck railing. Mounting is easy and secure with two triangular wood tabs that attach to the railing with screws.

The SE 501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath does need to be assembled but is less complicated than the pedestal version.

The basin of the SE 501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath is made of two layers of heavy-duty plastic with a heating element sealed between them.

The basin holds at most a half-gallon (two litres) of water, which will evaporate fairly quickly in dry or windy winter air.

That means you’ll need to watch the water level and may have to refill it every day.

The finished SE 501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath is 19 inches in diameter and about 3 inches high.

The heated basin is 14 inches wide by 1inch deep and has a 12-inch power cord.

At about 7 pounds (3 kg), the SE 501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath is a little heavier than other deck mounted bird baths but still quite manageable. 

Once it’s attached to your deck, the only part you’ll need to handle (for cleaning) is the plastic basin.

The SE 501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath is made in the USA.

Protecting the Wood

Red cedar weathers to gray in only a year or so, so if you buy this product we suggest sealing the frame with a non-toxic eco-friendly sealant to retain the beautiful color.

In this video, woodworker Izzy Swan explains how to seal wood with a mixture of Helmsman Spar Urethane  and Teak Oil for a good-looking weather resistant finish.

How to use the SE 501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath

The SE 501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath requires some assembly but attaches to your railing more easily than some deck-mounted bird baths.

  1. Take the bird bath kit out of the package and locate the instructions.
  2. Check to make sure you received all the wood pieces and all the hardware you’ll need.
  3. Assemble the frame according to directions and seal the wood if desired.
  4. Attach the frame to your deck railing and insert the bird bath basin.
  5. Fill the basin with water.
  6. Connect the bird bath basin to your (unplugged) outdoor extension cord. Use a safety seal or gasket if the connection will be exposed to rain or snow.
  7. Plug the extension cord into an outdoor GFCI outlet.

Alternative to this product

API 14B Four Seasons Heated Bird Bath

This heated deck bird bath is a little wider and deeper and uses a little more power (70 watts). It gets very good reviews and requires no assembly.

However, the all-plastic basin has a more modern appearance and the mounting hardware only fits a 4-inch or 6-inch wide deck rail.

Conclusion

The SE 501 Cedar Heated Deck Bird Bath is attractive and keeps drinking water available at temperatures as low as -10º F (-23º C). It’s easy to mount and if sealed against weathering will look good for a long time.

But if you get lots of birds and/or have very cold or windy winters, this product might not be the right one for you.

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