Water for Birds
Birds are attracted to water in your yard. They need it to drink, of course. But they are especially attracted to shallow dishes of water where they can bathe.
Photographers know that a great way to bring birds closer is to set up a system with water dripping into a pool. You could use a garbage can lid for the pool, and a large tin can with a small hole in the bottom for the dripping water. Photographers set out a few bare sticks for birds to perch on as they approach. When the birds land on the stick, the photographer can take a fantastic close-up picture of the bird. Position some green plants or leaves behind the stick to make the photograph appear more natural.
There are some commercially available systems if you want water running all the time. In northern climates, you may need a bird bath heater to keep the water from freezing. Using heaters in the bath is perfectly safe. The most important thing to remember is to use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet. Outdoor outlets in homes built in approximately the last 15 years are required to be GFCI-protected.
If possible, place bird baths on the south side of your home in colder climates. But ice and water together is not a problem at all for the birds. Be sure to clean your bird bath each week.
If you have the space, a small farm pond with some natural vegetation around the edges will bring in an amazing number of new birds. You can stock the pond with fish to attract Herons and other fish-eating birds. Put up a Wood-duck box and see if anyone moves in!