How to Attract Wild Birds - Page 2
A water feature is vital if you want birds to visit your yard often. There are many ways to add water for drinking and bathing. Just the sound of water dripping or gurgling will attract new birds. Here are some things to consider when adding water to your yard.
Cedar Waxwings visiting bird bath
From fancy commercial ones to a simple flower pot saucer, birds aren't choosy. Keep the water shallow. Using small smooth pebbles, I like to create a multi-level bath with water depth ranging from 1/2" to 3" to accommodate small and large birds.
EXPERIENCE SAYS: - Be patient after installing a bird bath. It can take the birds several days or more to begin using it. They are being cautious. If they continue to avoid your bird bath, consider moving it to another location that might feel safer to wild birds.
We offer several styles of Bird Baths at our store.
Creek or Pond
We decided to add a pond to our backyard. I wanted to attract more birds so we decided to add a natural-looking creek to the pond. The water is pumped from the pond up to and out over a gentle waterfall. It cascades down a river rock creek and finally splashes back into the pond. The randomly placed rocks in the creek create many different depths of water and many different sized pools of water. I placed a few dead branches across the flow of water. This gives the birds a place to survey the creek and gives me ample photographic opportunities. This creek provides a reliable recycling water source every day of the year through rain or drought.
Cardinals are the most frequent visitors to the bathing pools but we've seen new birds that, I believe, would not have stopped in our yard without the sound of water. These include warblers, vireos, buntings, cuckoos, orioles, tanagers, flycatchers and herons just to name a few.
Birds will not be the only dependable visitors. You can add fish, of course, but we now enjoy, frogs, toads, dragonflies, and the occasional turtle. Water striders skate across the surface in a insect ballet. (We use mosquito discs that are fish-safe.)
EXPERIENCE SAYS: - To protect the wet birds, keep shrubs away from the bathing area so that predators (feral cats top the list) can not wait in ambush. A slippery bottom to the puddle poses another danger. A wet bird, with slippery footing, is an easier target.
A bathing area hidden under a canopy of leaves feels like a safe place to a bird that is worried about aerial predators such as passing raptors. In reality, the bird may be killed by a terrestrial predator that is hiding in the leaves. Always stay aware of the possibility for danger.
The birds couldn't wait to use the creek we created just for them.
Some Optional Equipment and Ideas
Drip devices - A silent bird bath may go undiscovered. Add a dripping feature. Birds will perch on the dripper and drink from the drop which is forming.
You could construct your own. A simple bucket with a tiny hole in it can be suspended above the bird bath for a very slow drip. This bucket can be filled whenever a dripping sound is desired. (To disguise such an eye sore, make it look like a hanging plant basket by topping it with a plant container of equal size which will stay suspended above the water.)
Misters - Sometimes birds are very attracted to misters. Hummingbirds will certainly take advantage of one. Warblers and other migrating birds seem to materialized out of the woods when a mister is turned on during spring and fall migration. Ideally, use a low volume mist where water can be absorbed for gardening, home foundation moisture, etc.
Heaters - Heaters should be used to keep water from freezing in winter only if the water is shallow enough for drinking only. If the water is deep enough for bathing, the birds could suffer from water freezing on their feathers.
Dust Bath - After a good soaking, the birds may want to take advantage of a dust bath. Why not give your birds the full treatment? They will reward your efforts with hours of entertainment.
Watch when your sprinkler is on - Birds will gather in the shrubs when I run the sprinkler. This is a great time to observe wild birds.
The longer the birds stay in your yard, the longer you have to observe and enjoy them. Get the most enjoyment out of the time they spend in your habitat.
Want to see more birding pages?
How to attract wild birds:
1. How to Attract Wild Birds - Introduction
2. Water Features -------------------- (you are here)
3. Backyard Habitat - Protective Cover & Nesting
4. Feeding Wild Birds
Other sections of wild bird pages:
5. Wild Birds FAQ
6. Wild Birds Disease & Dangers
7. Injured Wild Birds - Links to Help
8. Wild Birds Photographs - ID Help
9. How to Attract Hummingbirds