Questions & Answersback

Can wild birds die of thirst when snow and ice deny access to drinking water?

Answer: Yes, just like humans and all other living animals, wild birds can die of thirst if they are denied access to water.
This happens in the space of a few days and much faster than if they were dying of hunger.
But the birds DON’T die of thirst during the winter as long as there is snow.
Studies in Finland have shown that the birds can cover their water needs by eating snow.
But the winter months are hard for the birds in many ways – so there is no reason to breathe a sigh of relief if everything is covered in snow, as this means there is no food about.
And if there is no snow but a long period of black frost where everything freezes solid then the birds can die of thirst.
So remember that winter is the time when most birds die and that this is an important time to feed the birds if you want to help to maintain the bird population in your area and garden.

Remember to always feed the birds and supply a fresh source of drinking water for small birds.