Wildlife-Friendly Gardening Tips: Water Features

May 12, 2017

Water for Life

Water is the basis for all life. All gardeners are used to watering the plants in their garden during our hot and often dry summers, but water is also just as important for wildlife. It is necessary for drinking, keeping clean and healthy and for cooling off during the hot summer. Some species even rely on water for safety, such as waterfowl that use it for sleeping at night and some amphibians when they sense danger. 

By adding a source of water to your yard, you’ll be amazed at the wildlife you attract! Here are two ways water can bring in the wildlife!

Pond Water Feature

Tip 1: Au Naturel Options

Water for wildlife can include natural features such as streams, ponds, rivers and other water bodies. Sage Creek has many great wetlands that are naturally managed to provide shelter and food for wildlife and filtering pollutants from the water itself. Protecting the water’s edge is one thing that helps make these wetlands able to do their job!  

Butterflies love mud puddling– it’s a way for them to get both nutrients and moisture. Leave an area of mud, sand or compost that you use for gardening. After a rainfall, watch to see how many of these winged beauties grace your garden in search of nourishment! 

Tip 2: DIY Options 

Creating a pond or recirculating stream will accommodate many species of wildlife, especially as you deepen the bottom. Keep in mind that edges are best if they are sloping to prevent drownings of animals expecting a shallow area to drink.

Water Feature with PlanterIf space or budget limitations prohibit a pond, you can still provide water with a small bird bath. Clean the dish once a week, more often in the warmer weather and remember to avoid harsh cleaners. Instead, a simple scrub with water and scouring brush or cloth should be sufficient. If the dish gets mucky, add a small amount of gentle liquid dish detergent and rinse well. This keeps the water clean and healthy and prevents mosquitoes from successfully breeding in your bird bath. 

Another thing you may not think to consider is adding some sound effects! The sound of moving water will make your yard even more enticing or even a simple drip can attract more birds to your yard. Hummingbirds love flying through a fine mist and will get to know your schedule if you set up your hose to spray for 10 minutes at the same time each day – with the bonus of watering your garden or lawn!  

Don’t forget to get certified. Use the application form, which provides an excellent roadmap to making your backyard wildlife-friendly and certified through the CWF Backyard Certification program It’s time to make your backyard a welcoming paradise for Manitoba wildlife!