Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone. ~G.B. Stern
Many of us feed the birds during the cold weather, but they also need water in the winter despite the snow around them. Always provide clean water with no additives. Place it in a shallow container that is less than 3 inches deep. You can add small pebbles to the bottom of the container to give it texture and keep the surface from getting slippery. If you have a deck or a windowsill that you can access easily in the winter, you can add fresh water daily. Consider the location of the water so it's not accessible to cats or other predators. As with feeders, it helps to place the water about 10-12 foot from a shrub or bush.
You can buy a special heater that will warm the water and keep it from freezing. Be sure it's a UL listed heater made for this purpose and it should be plugged into a outdoor socket. It should have a safety feature or an automatic shut off in case the water goes dry and use grounded plugs.
The sound of dripping or running water will help attract birds and a simple way to do this is to drill or punch a hole in the side of a bucket near the bottom (but not on the bottom) so the water drips into the birdbath. You can hang it from a shepherd's hook over the birdbath.
Birdbaths can be made out of many things including trash can lids, ceramic, clay or terra cotta saucers, pie plates etc. If the surface is smooth then be sure to add a layer of pebbles or sand. Wash your birdbaths on a regular basis as they become soiled.
On OFL we have more tidbits on backyard birds:
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