Creating a Wildlife Habitat, Part III: When Critters Get Thirsty

Photo courtesy Unsplash

Photo courtesy Unsplash

Now that we’ve covered where to create wildlife habitats, what the requirements are, and looked at how to provide food for wildlife, let’s turn our attention to how to provide water. 

This is one of my favorites, because there are so many different ways to provide it, and because you can accessorize your water features!

As with the other elements, this can be naturally occurring or provided by you. Examples of natural water sources include ponds, lakes, streams, creeks, wetlands and even low places in your yard which hold water.

Man made water sources include bird baths, which come in a variety of sizes, materials and styles. Consider having more than one and varying the heights. If you want something to double as a water feature and yard art check out the beautiful glass models and metal baths with sculptures of birds. 

Another idea is to use the saucer from a terra cotta or plastic pot. You can set these on the ground, on a stump, or on a deck rail - or all three of those. Remember, some wildlife will stay close to the ground while others will drink and bathe higher up.

One thing to consider is placement. Avoid putting a water feature close to bushes where predators, like outdoor cats, can hide.

Now for the accessories! Water wigglers are battery-operated devices that agitate the water very slightly. This keeps the water fresher longer and discourages mosquitos from laying their eggs. Genius!

Another accessory is a dripper/mister. Birds are attracted by the sound of water, so you can set this for a very slow drip or a faster one that you can use to fill the bird bath. Put water-loving plants around it to catch overflow. Or you can use the mister, which puts out a very fine spray, cooling the area around it and some birds, like hummingbirds, will flit back and forth through the mist.

A similar idea is to use quarter inch tubing and snake it up a tree. You can purchase different ends which will allow different levels of spray. You’ll need a splitter to attach to the faucet, and will attach the tubing to that. You might notice birds bathing by rubbing against the wet leaves. 

Think about adding several different water features to really ramp up your habitat!

Photo by Debbie Leblanc Foster

Photo by Debbie Leblanc Foster