As a water garden installer here in South Eastern, Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Count, Michigan (MI), one of the reasons people decide to install a water garden in their backyard is to attract wildlife. Think about the number of people who have placed birdbaths and/or bird feeders placed in their yards just to attract winged critters. There is no doubt; Mother Nature’s wildlife has an undeniable appeal.
Three Determining Factors
So, if you’re a water gardening enthusiast and wildlife lover in Macomb or Oakland County, what kinds of wildlife can you expect to see once your pond is in place and landscaped? Of course, that depends on where you live. Because certain critters are attracted by certain plants, the selection of perennials, trees, and shrubs you choose will also be a big determining factor of who comes to visit your pond. Either way, water attracts wildlife, so let’s have a quick look at some of the possibilities.
Birds That Will Pay You a Visit
Since we’ve already mentioned them, let’s start by checking out the birds that you’ll find hanging around your pond. Regardless of your geography or your planting preferences, you’ll attract small bird populations like sparrows, blue jays, cardinals, crows, and redwing blackbirds. These small, feathered critters are common pond visitors.
In most parts of the country you may also see male and female ducks swooping into your pond, floating around like they own the place, while bobbing their heads under water to catch a glimpse of all things below the surface. In these instances the birds will not only be drinking from your pond, but they’ll also be bathing, flapping their wings frantically, as water is being tossed freely and playfully in all directions.
The Long-Legged Critter That Can Cause You Grief
Another common visitor from the bird population comes in a long-legged variety – the great blue heron. Now, just because a bird has long legs doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily a problem. The heron however, is the predator that is most likely to have your prize koi for lunch or dinner. To make matters worse, they’re a protected species so you can’t take the BB gun out and scare them away. What you can do though is to get a motion-activated “scarecrow” that’s designed to sense the presence of large bodies (be they human or birdlike). When movement is detected, the scarecrow pelts the offender with water shots of and scares them away. On the other hand, you could buy cheap goldfish and consider them to be heron food. After all, heron have to eat too. If you choose to go this route, you’ll be enjoying the coming and going of these extremely graceful creatures.
Insects That Will Make Your Heart Sing
On a much smaller scale, there are a plethora of insects that are also attracted to your water garden. Some are considered pests (mosquitoes) and others can feel more like pets (dragonflies). In fact, regardless if where you are, the dragonfly is one of the most welcome visitors to the entire pond world. A creature with its own charisma and beauty, the dragonfly, sometimes called a mosquito hawk because of its voracious appetite for mosquitoes.
It’s not unusual to find a dragonfly stuffing its mouth with a hundred mosquitoes at one time.” Any critter that eliminates that many mosquitoes from any yard in one mouthful should be a prime candidate for a water gardening critter of the century. When it comes to insects, to be honest, we can hardly count the number of species that populate the world. But when it comes to the water gardening world, there are a number who are considered particularly pond friendly including butterflies (for some, the presence of butterflies alone is worth every penny), water boatman, damselfly, mayfly, water strider or water skater, the diving beetle, the stonefly, the water spider, and…well this list could go on until the whole pond freezes over. The important thing to know is that just because they’re insects doesn’t mean that you should want to eliminate them from your pond. They’re natural, and along with your fish, some of them will help you minimize the mosquito population. They’re also personable, even decorative after a fashion, so give them a chance.