While you’re enjoying watching the winter songbirds visit your feeds on pleasant winter days, you may want to consider adding another amenity: water.

Though birds can meet their water needs by eating snow and catching drops of thawing ice on a sunny day, a source of open water is still a welcome sight. And don't worry: If it's well below freezing, they won't bathe in it. Just visit a large lake or river in the winter that’s not completely iced over, and chances are you’ll find quite the avian hangout, with flocks of waterfowl and songbirds gathered at the water’s edge, on the ice and in the trees.

Before you buy any specialized equipment, though, get a feel for the demand for fresh water in your neighborhood with a simple experiment.

Carefully roll out the birdbath that’s stored in your shed for the winter or simply set out a shallow container of fresh water at the start of each day. Place it at the foot of your deck, or even on the ground, somewhere near your feeding station, preferably in an open area that gets plenty of sun.

At the end of the day, or once the water ices over, bring it someplace to thaw — but don’t chip the ice, as it could break your container — and set out fresh water the next day.

Over the coming days and weeks, watch what happens. You may even discover a new species or two!

If you decide a winter watering station is just the thing for your yard, here are three simple ways to safely winterize your birdbath so it doesn't become frozen. Meanwhile, keep your feeders stocked with high-quality nutritious seed from Lyric, and enjoy the show from the coziness of your home!