I live in Massachusetts, in the Northeast United States. Our backyard is a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat. We're responsible for providing shelter, places for raising young, food and water all year round. We have trees, bushes, plants, and many feeders and bird baths. We take our part, especially in the winter, very seriously.
Water freezes in our bird baths for months. We crack ice out and refill them regularly, but we'd like something heated to keep the water thawed. We were going to get submersible water heaters, but decided a free-standing unit we can use all year makes more sense.
We want something strong and sturdy, that won't crack under the weight of heavy snow or ice, or when birds and other animals are using it. Something easy to clean would be great!
I found some online that are thermostat-controlled. They turn on when the water begins to freeze, raise it to 35°F, and shut off when it gets warmer. They're rated to -10° or lower. They have electrical cords underneath. This type looks good to us, as long as it's guaranteed for electrical safety and accurate temperature. We don't want it to cause damage to any part of the birds or other animals.
They come in either one-piece or two piece, in different sizes. They have a variety of edge and body styles, and choice of materials. We don't know the pros and cons of any of those features.
Which type of free-standing, thermostatically-controlled birdbaths would meet our most important criteria?