A Heated Bird Bath for the Birds…and a Wily Raccoon

Happy Sunday! How’s your weekend going?

I wanted to pop in and share how the heated bird bath looks installed out on the deck. I attempted to install it yesterday but it was late in the day and getting dark quickly. It has a tilt feature so when you want to dump the old water and add new, you just lift it up and tilt. I couldn’t get the tilt mechanism to catch yesterday and since my light was quickly fading, I gave up for the evening.

This afternoon I headed back out to give it another go. May I just take this moment to say thank-you to the person who invented gloves. I think gloves may be one of the best inventions everrrrr!

Heated Bird Bath

It was 38 degrees outside when I was installing it today, way too cold for this southern girl. Here’s how it looks installed, as seen from the kitchen/breakfast area.

Heated Bird Bath for Winter


A little closer view…

Heated Bird Bath for Deck

See that black thingy down there toward the bottom. I could never get it to latch properly. You’re supposed to unlatch it to tilt it outward to empty old water or for cleaning. The weird thing is that if I had been able to get it to latch, the whole bird bath would have been greatly tilted forward. So I finally just gave up. It’s plenty stable for the birds to land on, I’m just worried what will happen when Mr. Raccoon pays a visit tonight. I’m sure he will be delighted to find his own private hot tub and will climb in or at least on top of it.

Heated Bird Bath Installed

Mr. Racoon always comes around for a visit between midnight and 2:30 AM. I’m often still working in the office which is located above this deck, so I hear a big racket as he leaps onto the deck rail to access the feeder that hangs on the left side of the deck. From the sound of it, I think he’s climbing onto one of the wicker chairs out there and leaping from the chair to the deck rail. I think the noise I hear each night is the chair thumping against the deck when he makes his leap. At least that’s what it sounds like.

A couple of nights ago, when I heard that familiar sound, I crept downstairs with the camera. I put it on auto so it would flash since it was pitch black dark out that night. I opened some louvers on the shutters in the breakfast window and pressed down on the button but not far enough to actually take the picture. The flash lit up but when I looked out again, all I could see was the feeder swinging like crazy. I think the flash scared Mr. Raccoon and he jumped off to the ground below.

I need to find a way to sneak up on him so I can get a pic to share with you. I’m pretty sure it’s a raccoon that’s visiting because in the past he has taken a glass globe off the outdoor chandelier in that area and placed it down on the deck, unbroken. The guys at Wildbirds Unlimited where I buy my seed tell me that only a raccoon has that kind of dexterity–apparently they have thumbs. lol

I could treat the seed with the hot pepper stuff they sell to keep squirrels, etc… away from seed, and after a while he would probably quit visiting, but I don’t mind feeding him each night. I just hope he doesn’t wreak havoc on the bird bath since it isn’t latched down in front.

Heated Bird Bath


I’ll let ya know how the birds like their new bird bath. Today’s a good day to put it out since it’s getting down to 26 degrees tonight. It will be 27 degrees at 7:00 AM so I think the birds will appreciate some non-frozen water tomorrow morn, that is if Mr. Raccoon hasn’t made a mess.

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  1. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    Oh … you’re going to get some pretty (and thankful) little visitors. πŸ˜€ Maybe you can catch some photos to share. And I hope you get a little Mr. Chipmunk because they’re my favorites with their tiny stripey bodies. πŸ˜‰ Hopefully Mr. Noisy Raccoon won’t tip it over and fall out on his bottom, lol. I think it’s cute that he visits. πŸ™‚

  2. This is such a great idea, and I’m so glad you don’t mind the raccoon drinking, too!

  3. I’ve never heard of these. What a nice surprise to your little creatures!

  4. Hi lovely lady.
    I love your story about Mr. Raccoon and your new birdbath sweet.
    I also hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and I hope your kitty is doing well also.

  5. Rosemary Armesto says

    Brrrrrrr Our little feathered friends need more folks like you and of course, Mr. Raccoon.

  6. That is about the kindest thing I have ever heard of someone doing for God’s creatures. My neighbor across the street keeps cardboard boxes with towels and heating pads in them for all the neighborhood cats and also puts out heated milk with their food-don’t know how many she feeds plus her indoor cats. Anyway you two get the Superstars of the Day award from me for Sunday Nov 24th. Great job!! Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Those…raccoon’s…they ARE a tenacious bunch! The birds will be singing your praises! Good job! franki

  8. I am loving this! what a great idea! I usually have to go outside and chop up the ice so the birds can have a drink! need to put on my Santa List!

  9. Your house sounds like a favorite amongst the critters in your neighborhood. Guess that means they have something in common with your readers πŸ™‚

  10. Nice. The challenge is to remember to refill/change the water every day. In really cold weather the water evaporates fast.

  11. We have a “Mr. Possum” issue. Who would have thought, in the middle of the city?

  12. I just hope you don’t find a “thank you for the bath” note from Mr. Raccoon tomorrow morning, Susan! lolol

    xoxo laurie

  13. Marty Cotton says

    Let me know how you like this heated birdbath-I have been looking at them and considering buying one for over a year now. I found a local feed store here in Watertown NY that seeks a triple feeder similar to the one you had that I emailed you about. They have a great coupon for Black Friday so I think I might just treat myself (and the birds) to it! I also bought the various seeds that are in the Wildbirds Unlimited Choice Blend that you recommended and made my own-THE BIRDS ARE BACK!!!!!! YAY! Thank you!! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  14. This is lovely of you to think of the little forest creatures..we have possums, raccoons and deer who come to visit us…there is alot to be said for one who is kind to all animals!! The bird bath is a wonderful idea…did you find it in a gardening catalogue?

  15. That is such a cute idea. I haven’t seen these. Iam sure the birds will be singing their thank yous to you. I don’t have a deck so I leave one of those heated electric dog bowls out through the winter. It’s too deep for a bird to take a bath but it sure is nice for a drink. Have a great Thanksgiving.

    • Linda, that’s a great idea! I didn’t know they had electric doggie bowls.

    • Dani & cats says

      I have a dog bowl too (the dogs like the heated buckets from the horses better ) so I put some stones in it for smaller “guests”. The birds have a chance to sit in a little shallower water and couldn`t drawn in it. They always try to take a bath / a “hot” bath in winter and now I feel it`s safer for them !
      Enjoy wintertime as well while watching your little friends !
      Dani & cats…

  16. Susan where did you get the gloves? Iam sorry I forgot where you said. That’s a neet gift for my daughter in law. Thanks,Linda

  17. Our feathered friends would love this. We have some pesky/friendly/greedy squirrels that would love this too. I’m sure if my husband seen this he would make a beeline to get one. Wishing you a happy week!

  18. Oh Susan, this is so cute, sweet and thoughtful for the poor cold Little birdies…simply adorable! I didn’t imagine this existed, lol! I’m glad you got one my friend.
    Wishing you and yours a lovely Tksgiving ahead.

  19. Regarding that stinker of a racoon, what about getting a “Trail” or AKA “Game” camera? My son-in-law has one that he put outside their house to see what animals they have roaming around their back yard. I know Bass Pro & Cabela’s have them. We’ve been tempted ourselves to look into one, as we have a bear that likes to visit our bird feeders and dismantle the whole setup, so we have to take them in each night. Good luck with the hot tub, I mean bird bath! And thank you for the idea of the gloves. I looked through the websites you had links to, and ended up ordering texting gloves from Kohls for myself, my husband, and our daughters. They had the Isotoner brand, so with the sale, my 30% off coupon, and free shipping, I got a deal!

    • Oh, I would love that, Gina…have a camera out there to catch him! Will they work in the dark? I’m afraid if I turn on the flood lights, or have a light on out there, he may not visit. I’d love to catch him in the act…would make some fun footage to share on BNOTP. lol Glad you got some gloves! I love these things!

      • Re the trail cams, yes they work in the dark. I only know that from my son-in-law talking about the deer walking around his back yard at night. I have looked at them on-line at one of the sporting goods stores. I’m a big fan of reading reviews before I purchase anything, and as you are a big time DIYer, I’m sure you’ll find just the right one!
        I just googled trail camera’s and quite a few sites came up. Good luck!

  20. What a great idea. Anything to help our feathered friends in the cold wintry days ahead. I think I will look for one and place it on our deck. “Happy Thanksgiving, Susan.” Deb

  21. Hi —- I’ve got a water warmer, similar idea for my horse (yes, even on the Monterey Peninsula we get temps below freezing), but this is a fab idea for our birds at the house. Oh, where, oh, where did you get the gloves? That might work for me at the Ranch because nothing is worse that having hands so cold doing chores that you can’t do anything and the fact that you can use your iPad with them on is amazing! Happy Thanksgiving! MMR

  22. Can’t wait to see pix of the birds visiting!
    I live in Florida and almost every night I hear a loud, heavy THUMP as a racoon(s) jump from the trees
    onto our roof! Then they run across to jump into the next tree. It’s either racoons or some REALLY big squirrels!

  23. Thsi looks like the perfect Christmas gift for my Joe! I will look for one! I want to warn you about the raccoons: we had them LIVING ON THE ROOF at the old house and twice had someone go up there and they got 1/2 of a 5 gallon bucket of raccoon poop!!!!!!!!!!!! It is disgusting. I just hope they don’t take up residence on your roof. They also can be nasty so be careful (as cute as they appear)!!!

  24. Susan,
    I am lat to the party, as always. I have the same bird bath. I did it on the deck last winter, and it was unsteady too. I think the birds were afraid to use it because it is closer to the house than they like.
    This year I took the black metal part off and set it in the glazed concrete bird bath that is out all year. I used black electrical tape to loosely fasten the cord to the bird bath base. I have enough slack to lift it up and tip out water when I clean it.
    The bird bath is where they always found it before and being near the hedge they have a “duck for cover” spot near by.

    • The birds are coming to mine now a lot. I like having it on the deck because I can’t see it when it’s in the yard since I have basement beneath. They are really happy it’s there right now since it was well below freezing this morning. I’m having to fill it almost daily. I actually saw a bluebird take a bath in it yesterday. I didn’t think they would do that when it was cold. It was 34 degrees outside when he did that. Apparently, they will even bathe when it’s that cold. Mostly the birds are just drinking from it this time of year. Here’s a post showing a bluebird sitting on it. πŸ™‚ https://betweennapsontheporch.net/bluebirds-visit-mealworm-feeder/ I wish they would make a better mount for it so it isn’t so wobbly. It’s always crooked which bugs my ocd side! Maybe someone will eventually make a deck rail birdbath that actually fits properly. I like your idea for just setting it inside the bird bath. I doubt my next house will have a basement. If it doesn’t and my main windows are on ground level, I will do what you did. I already have a concrete birdbath outside that’s not even being used. Thanks, Rick!

  25. Hi Susan,
    I just found your blog (on Mark Lipinski’s blog–he shared your beautiful decoupaged pumpkin project), and I have the same bird bath you do. I love it! Mine doesn’t wobble at all, even when the raccoon plays in it (which I discourage only because when he visits my deck he leaves a not-so-lovely parting gift, if you know what I mean). Is it possible that you have yours set backwards on the bracket? That would make it unstable. And if your railing is not level, neither will the bird bath be. Just a thought. Love your blog–thanks for sharing with a former Southerner/now Midwesterner. πŸ™‚

    • Umm, maybe I should check it to see. I removed it last summer when I had the deck repainted and reinstalled. It’s been a while I installed that but it seemed to only fit one way.

      Phyllis, how long ago did you buy yours? When I bought mine, I noticed that someone else had complained in the reviews about it being wobbly. I’m just wondering if you purchased your’s later, maybe they came up with a better design and figured out a way to improve that. Mine wobbles like crazy and drives me nuts. I bought mine around October/November 2013.

      • Hmm, I’m not sure, but at least three years. Just looking at your photo, it really looks backwards to me. If we have the same model, there’s a straight tab and an angled tab on the bottom of the bath. The straight one fits into the slot in the bracket clamped to the railing. The angled one locks down on the other side (the side facing the deck), so when you want to empty the bird bath you pull up on the angled tab to flip the bath, but the straight tab stays in the slot (unless you want to remove the bath completely to clean it out). I did notice at some point that mine wasn’t level, so I tried to put shims between the bracket and deck railing. That didn’t work. πŸ™‚ Then I realized the bracket had slipped up and was not completely flush against the railing. An easy fix. As with all things your mileage may vary, but I hope you can make the bath work for you. I love mine! Before I just had a regular bird bath that I put a submersible heater in, but the base of the bath would freeze to the deck in our Iowa winters and be impossible to empty for cleaning. I bought this one at an end-of-season sale and should probably look for a replacement next spring. I have no idea how long these things last, and I don’t want to be without it. πŸ™‚

      • Oh, and of course (sure you know this) be sure to thread the electrical cord through the slot in the bottom of the bath so the bath can sit flush in the bracket. Sometimes when it’s soooooo cold (like minus 10) and I’m in a hurry, I don’t get the cord fixed right, and the bath is wobbly. Even with gloves, my hands get too cold to function in that kind of weather!

        • Thanks, I’ll take another look at mine and see if I can turn it around. Appreciate those tips! Yeah, my birds really love having fresh water in the wintertime when it’s hard to find not frozen over.

    • Oh, and I know what you mean about the raccoons. I have some that visit occasionally and they do love playing in the water. lol

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