Why you shouldn’t break the ice on the birdbath with a hammer


It’s a bit parky round these parts, so I reloaded the spadgers’ nuts, which is more fun in the interludes between the snow rather than in the anticipated blizzards to come. I figured I’d break the ice on the birdbath, with a hammer.

The trouble is it was one of those plastic resin jobs, which is hollow inside. and despite being 2pm in the afternoon sun, the ice had frozen solid.

Damn. Any fule kno plastic gets brittle in the cold...
Damn. Any fule kno plastic gets brittle in the cold…

So I’m down one bird bath and the sparrows are SOL on water. It’s the second time I’ve knackered it de-icing it, the first time was breaking the ice with a spade a couple of years ago. It’s a curious hollow plastic construction. I fixed it the last time using Milliput, which is a sort of epoxy resin putty. The same trick could sort this break out too.

The right way to do this is with hot water from a kettle, but I was trying to avoid losing a load of heat to the latent heat of fusion of the lump of ice. I shouldn’t have been so tight, the bird bath holds probably about 5 litres, so I’d take a hit of 5 x 334 kJ or about 0.5kWh, about 10p these days. It would be several kettles’ worth of boiling water though to thaw it. Whereas now I’m down either £2 for some Milliput, or I may junk this and get a replacement.I’ve been coveting a cement/concrete one at a local hardware store for a while at £22.

The sides of this birdbath are a bit steep for the spadgers and I have to put a piece of wood in as a ramp in the breeding season to give baby birds a fighting chance of getting out. The trouble is many modern ones are resin again so I really need to learn to to stop using blunt instruments on the ice.  I could repair this with Milliput and then fill some of the bottom with concrete to make it shallower, but the £22 one starts to look like a better deal. Plus this is only as high as a cat standing on its back legs, which is poor design in a birdbath IMO.

So if you have one of these apparently solid birdbaths are are tempted to de-ice it with a blunt instrument, perhaps ahead of the Big Garden Birdwatch next weekend then learn from me

don’t do that 😉