Water is the most important element for successful bird garden design. It is even more important than food! In order to attract wildlife to your yard, their basic survival needs must be met. This includes: Food, shelter/nesting sites and water. Songbirds are adept at finding food and shelter on their own however water can be the most difficult for them to locate.
In dry areas or during periods of drought, natural water sources dry up. During winter months sources may freeze and birds cannot get through the ice with their soft beaks. Keeping a supply of water will help birds during these times. Providing fresh, clean water will also attract songbirds to your garden that don’t eat seeds so wouldn’t visit bird feeders.
Types of Water Sources
A traditional bird bath is an easy way to offer water to birds. Factors to consider when selecting a bird bath would be:
Depth – Make sure that the basin is shallow. Birds are short! They cannot bathe in a deep bowl. Two to three inches deep is sufficient.
Surface – The surface of the basin should have a slightly rough texture so that birds will not slip. They are less likely to get into a bowl that they can’t grip, and a textured surface will more resemble their natural environment of rocks in streams.
Water Fountains, Water Features
If you don’t have a birdbath, any water feature can still offer songbirds drinking water. They will use any source they can find. With a classic water fountain, birds will stand along the edges and drink. They will also splash water on themselves and preen.
Water Gardens, Bog Gardens
A water garden can be as simple or as complex as you wish. They are not nearly as difficult to install as people might think! Including even a small water garden will be highly attractive to songbirds and other wildlife. The sound of moving water will help them find your yard quickly.
During times of the year when water is scarce, even setting a bowl out on a porch rail will help our feathered friends. Water does not have to be complicated. You can use a simple bird bath, create an elaborate water garden, add misters and fountains, whatever suits your taste and landscape design.
Call Art of Stone Gardening
If you are interested in creating a bird friendly backyard and wish to include a water supply, Art of Stone Gardening can help. We have experience building streams and creek style water gardens, bog gardens and installing water fountain style water features. You may see samples of our water feature work at: Water Gardens. If you wish to keep it simple, our landscape designers can also help you to select bird friendly plants and help with good bird bath placement. North Georgia residents can Contact Us to discuss your needs!
More on Creating a Bird Garden
This is part of our series on Creating a Wildlife Friendly Garden.