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Building Water Features for Wildlife


A backyard pond or fountain doesn’t just have to be for our benefit. Sure, we enjoy the sound of trickling water and the ambiance of a pond filled with blooming flowers and enticing lights, but our water features can be created with wildlife in mind as well. Not only will you still get the benefits you enjoy out of a backyard pond, but the local wildlife will thank you and you’ll get a great up-close view of some colorful creatures! Bird baths and ponds are two sources of water for wildlife recommended by Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences.

Bird Bath

If you want to invite birds to your backyard, you can take it a step further than a hanging bird feeder and add a bird bath for birds to drink and bathe in. Your bird bath can be on a pedestal or right on the ground. Bird baths on the ground imitate a river or other natural water source and will attract different kinds of birds than an above ground fountain. A ground bath will also attract other kinds of wildlife, including squirrels and chipmunks.

When choosing the materials for your above ground bird bath avoid slippery surfaces like plastic. Birds want a material that they can get their grip on, such as terra-cotta. You can even add rocks to the bird bath for a great, non-stick surface. Makes sure the bath isn’t filled too much with water, birds prefer shallow water to wade in, no more than a couple of inches. Aim to keep your bird bath in the shade if possible.


For a smaller scale water feature that will attract birds, you can try a mister. While misters will beckon a wide variety of birds, hummingbirds and warblers are particularly attracted to them. If you set up your mister to wet the foliage of a nearby tree or bush, birds will rub up against it and “leaf bathe” to get the water off the plant. The gleam of the sun on a misted leaf will attract birds from miles away. Misters can be connected to the end of your garden hose and then placed wherever you’d like around your yard.

Backyard Pond

A backyard pond will attract more than just birds. Expect to also see amphibians and insects, and if you want to add them in – fish. A backyard pond can be as simple or as extensive as you’d like it to be. A simple, shallow pond will attract birds, while a deeper pond may attract even more wildlife, while also providing a great home for pond fish like koi and goldfish. You can start small with a pond kit that includes the materials you need to get started. Each kit is perfectly matched to suit the size of the garden pond you want to create. Whether you are a beginner or looking to extend the pond you already have, there is a kit to meet your requirements.

There is a lot to consider when adding a backyard pond. You’ll need to make sure you have all of the necessary pond supplies, decide on location, plant pond plants and more. Find a more detailed explanation of how to install a garden pond, here.

No matter what water feature you decide to add to your yard, the local wildlife is sure to appreciate it. Whether you are hoping to attract birds, dragonflies or to create a safe haven for fish and frogs, has the supplies and knowledge you need to create the perfect backyard oasis. Get started today!