Do you enjoy the chirping of song birds in your yard? One of the easiest ways to attract birds to your garden is with water. Water is essential for all birds for both drinking and bathing. Many birds who normally do not visit bird feeders will not be able to resist a pond especially if the water is in motion or has that telltale sound of flowing water. While the waterfall certainly adds to the beauty of your pond it also functions as a way to keep the pond cleaner and healthier for the birds and provides a perch for them as well.
If you are planning a pond, water garden, stream or pond free waterfall in your yard with the idea of attracting birds and other wildlife there are a couple of things you should consider, create a shallow wading area for bathing, this will help them stay cool as well as remove dirt, and add perches at the edge of the water level for the birds to drink from. Native aquatic plants, Water lilies rocks and insects that gather in the pond will help create shelter and food for all types of wild birds. Be sure to extend the landscape around the water feature to include native seed and berry plants for addition food sources. If your pond is in full sun, the landscaping will help provide shade. Don’t forget nesting boxes and bird houses for shelter outside of the pond. Where you place the bird pond is also important. A pond placed at the edge of the garden will seem more secluded and safer to the birds.
It is just as important that you maintain your water feature for birds as you would a Koi pond. A healthy wildlife pond should be similar to a natural pond with native plants and a bit of debris on the bottom. Of course, a small manmade pond will need a bit of help through the use of a pump/filter system. Clean recirculating water that is pulled through a pond filter is more attractive, healthier and will need to be cleaned less frequently than the still, stagnant water in a birdbath. Be careful when adding chemicals to your water feature such as those used to control algae. Make sure to read the labels carefully to see if they are safe for birds. If you prefer to treat algae using a natural source try barley straw or barley straw pellets. Algae growth should not be problem if you have the proper filtration, have gravel at the pond bottom for beneficial bacteria to grow, plenty of aquatic plants and if you have fish, keep feeding to a minimum. Pesticides should not be used in the landscaping surrounding your water feature, not only will they make the plants berries and seeds unsafe to eat it can easily run off into the pond making it toxic for the birds. Your pond can become home to many wild bird species by utilizing these few simple steps.