Steps To Design A Water Feature To Attract Birds And Wildlife

Creating a landscape that welcomes wildlife, whether it's the four legged or winged variety, requires water. Most people aren't lucky enough to have a natural stream or pond on their property, though. The following guide will help you add wildlife-friendly water to your land-locked yard.

#1: Determine what you want to attract

Birds are usually the first to visit running water. They are then followed by smaller mammals, such as raccoons, foxes, and other woodland creatures. If there is access, larger mammals, such as deer, may also visit. Sometimes, especially in an urban setting, your goal may be to only attract birds since many of the mammals in urban areas are considered pests. Opt for elevated fountains that can't easily be reached from the ground, if this is the case. If your goal is to also attract mammals, then fountain that includes a near-ground pool or pond is the better choice.

#2: Pick a location

It's all about location. You want to place your fountain in an area where you can easily view it from your home or patio, but where it isn't so close to human activity that the birds and animals are disturbed. This means you also don't want to set it too closely to property lines, since neighbors or nearby traffic can be disturbing.

#3: Choose a fountain

Now that you know what animals you want to attract and where you want to place it, the fun part of choosing the actual fountain has arrived. If you are opting for a larger fountain, such as one with a bottom basin, make sure there are some shallow areas for the birds. This can be achieved with tiers placed in the center of the fountain. Another option is to choose a bubbler fountain, which bubbles down a series of ledges to the bottom pool, much like a waterfall. The reason for this is because birds can drown in deeper water, so its important to provide them shallow water for playing and grooming. For bird-only fountains, look for the disappearing rock style of fountain. These may spray or bubble water from the top, but it recirculates through a rock layer so a pool doesn't form.

#4: Create a safe space

Landscaping around your new water feature is also important. Providing both low shrubby plants, for cover near the water, and a few taller trees and shrubs, so birds can escape ground-based predators, is vital. Otherwise, wildlife may not consider your fountain a safe place, so they will not visit. Use a combination of deciduous and evergreen plants if you want your fountain in use year-round.