Thursday, March 10, 2011


Spring is round the corner! To enhance your wildlife-friendly yard, simply build a tiny, small, medium-sized, or large water garden. People have created wildife water gardens with sunken bathtubs, washtubs, whiskey barrels, wine kegs, aluminum horse troughs, and plastic buckets. Many buy plastic water garden tubs from department stores. Others use vinyl to coat a cavity they dug into the ground. All can be decorated with stones and rocks. - Earth Day HP Image
Whatever type of water garden you build, by providing a constant source of water, you'll attract water insects, mammals, birds, amphibians, and other critters to your yard. I dug our water garden to be 9 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 36-inches deep, with shelves around the edge, 9-inches underwater, for aquatic plants. The biodiversity increased dramatically upon its completion- large dragonflies, damselflies, frogs, salamanders, water bugs on top and below the water surface, birds (including a Great Blue Heron that ate my koi!), racoons, opossum, a pair of Screech Owls and young ones that would perch on a hula hoop floating on the surface, a wandering snapping turtle, a constant visit by butterflies and honey bees that sat on the floating duck weed to drink, and visits by wrens and songbirds of all types. Watch the video (Below). It offers great tips for building a water garden to attract birds.

One moring, I woke up to find 3 baby Screech Owls sitting around the hula hoop, which floated in my water garden. It served to keep the duck weed from covering the entire surface so I could see the Koi eat the food I threw to them. Mama Screech Owl perched on the lounge chair by the water's edge. The movement of the owl babies made the Koi think it was feeding time. They surfaced inside the hula hoop ring and the baby owls inspected them intensely, stepping around the hula hoop to do so. Well, they ended up all on the same side and the hula hoop sank as the opposite side raised into the air. The Koi scattered, the owl parent went into a frenzy, but the babies easily flopped through the duck weed to dry ground. They looked cute, covered with duck weed. They stayed in the yard until dried off enough to fly. Wish I had my video cam ready!

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. encourages others to transform part of their lawns into wildlife-friendly spaces. Please join the movement by contacting us at the secure Bpath Mail Form. Have a wildlife-friendly space in your yard! We'd enjoy featuring it on this site free-of-charge, for the good of the order! Any relevant meetings or events you'd like to post free-of-charge? Contact us on the Bpath Mail Form.