Every wildlife garden should have a pond but unfortunately as soon as winter arrives and the temperature drops there is the chance your garden pond will freeze up. It’s essential that you keep at least one part of it unfrozen as water is just as important to the creatures visiting your wild garden as is food. Birds especially like to have a regular bath to help remove parasites from their bodies and even when the water is absolutely freezing they will still queue up to have a bath in the icy water. When I built my wildlife garden pond I created an area where the water was about 2″ (50mm) deep so the birds had somewhere to stand in it to bath. So when the pond freezes over I go out first thing every morning to make sure that area is free from ice. I must point out here that it is not a good idea to smash the ice hard to break it, it must be tapped gently then when an area of ice is broken up remove the loose ice otherwise it will quickly freeze over again.
At the back of my pond you will see a pile of rocks which I built to make a high level bird bath so I could get some pictures and video of birds having a bath. In the video you will see me pouring some steaming hot water into it to melt the ice. I have to use this method because the water is totally frozen solid and doesn’t just have a skin of ice like the pond. I want to make it very clear at this point that you must never leave hot water if you do this. Always make sure the water is cold again before you walk away because if a bird goes straight to it as you walk away to get cold water it could be severely injured or killed.
Hitting the ice hard will cause shock waves through the water which can kill the creatures in the pond, especially if you have fish.