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Permies Poll: Do you intentionally have water available for wildlife on your property?

 
master gardener
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Good evening,

A thought occurred to me. How many Permies intentionally have some kind of water source available to wildlife on their properties. I'm thinking intentionally in mind. Birdbaths, insect waterers, or maybe an entire pond! A lot of work we put into water is for growies, but we shouldn't forget about everything else that makes up the environment.




Share your thoughts.
 
Timothy Norton
master gardener
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I have a few different shallow vessels around my property that hold water. I have found big terra cotta saucers area hit with reptiles/amphibians who like to get underneath it and I assume enjoy the wicked moisture.
 
pollinator
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I have a very large pond but that is for me even though wildlife enjoys. A few months ago my son helped me build about a 35-45gal “pond” in one of the garden areas to be a strictly wildlife habitat. This one is in the backyard around the perennials. So far no takers but I suspect it will be a hit. We built rocks up on one side so any small animal can easy get in and out.
 
pollinator
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I voted yes, although I originally just wanted a little garden pond. It has a small stream section, and the pump runs year-round so it doesn't freeze.  Or if it does, I go out and open it up. All kinds of critters take advantage, my favorites are the birds. Open water in winter attracts more and more kinds than feeding.
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pollinator
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The fun part is that accidental sources of liquid water, particularly in winter, draw in as many birds as a bird feeder. When melt-water drips off the roof of my A-frame seasonal cabin onto overturned 55 gal drums, the chickadees are all over it. I see them scrounging a drink of liquid water from all sorts of microclimate sources. Smart birds.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
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I would also add that we make all water on site accessible in ways that are safe for birds to access. This sounds complex, but it's dirt simple. Long poles with bark on them in 55 gal. barrels. Simple wood floats in ponds. Stepped stone "stairs" in the fish pond, with little bathing nooks. These are massively active all through the summer.

I look at the metal tanks my cowboy neighbour uses to water the rescue horses he works with. There's a long pole in every one, so the birds can drink. He knows the deal. Doesn't cost him a penny. Smart boy. (Tough shell, but underneath a big ol' softie I think.)
 
gardener
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I'm in an urban area, and I find that putting water out is critical if I don't want the birds to decimate my tender greens during dry times.
We also have water out for the bees, generally, and hummingbird feeders, because we love them and at least a few of the species here don't migrate (although they do sometimes lay low in the winter).
 
master steward
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I have a very large pond though it is empty.  We tried bentonite clay to seal it which did not work.

When it rains there is a shallow puddle about 5 ft x 5 ft.  

We furnish the wildlife with a water tank though they prefer the puddle when it is available.

We also have a water pan on our front patio.
 
Timothy Norton
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:I would also add that we make all water on site accessible in ways that are safe for birds to access. This sounds complex, but it's dirt simple. Long poles with bark on them in 55 gal. barrels.



I just want to double check because this idea sounds fascinating to me. We are talking like a long broom-stick like barked branch just sticking out of the barrel?
 
gardener
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Mark Reed wrote:I voted yes, although I originally just wanted a little garden pond.



Wow, so many different birds in your area!
I think a bird bath was my first tiny water feature in the garden, which evolved into a bowl of water in a terrarium, then an aquarium, then a small pond and a bigger pond... Now I only keep the aquarium and the pond.
Pond will have floating willow branches tied to the side, as soon as the risk of frost goes away. That will provide a rescue for creatures that fall in, and a sitting spot for birds. Some insects may still become fish food; mosquitoes for sure.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
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Timothy Norton wrote:

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:I would also add that we make all water on site accessible in ways that are safe for birds to access. This sounds complex, but it's dirt simple. Long poles with bark on them in 55 gal. barrels.



I just want to double check because this idea sounds fascinating to me. We are talking like a long broom-stick like barked branch just sticking out of the barrel?


Yup. I have seen small birds work their way down the branch and get a drink. The bark seems to help them get a grip.
 
master steward
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We have a large pond that the deer bed down by on the far side of our property.  Our dogs have kept the coyotes away from the deer ….   And they keep the deer out of the orchards and garden.   Yes, the dogs have a complicated job description.
 
                                    
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One of our property lines is a slough. We're intentionally leaving it wild as a wildlife corridor. Unfortunately, it is currently coyote highway, so we have to lock up our domestic animals at sunset to keep from becoming a fast food joint. Have seen some massive deer and elk too.
 
Posts: 93
Location: Southern Manitoba...bald(ish) prairie, zone 2b/3
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We have a dugout on the property that is there for the local volunteer fire department to access should it become necessary.  It is surrounded by cattails, so birds can get in and out.  Mammals can swim, as do the frogs we see.  When we bought the property, there were fish of some size (6-10" I'd guess)...around fall migration one day we saw a cormorant there...and haven't seen fish since.  There was a bittern among the cattails one time.  The last couple years we've had a Canada goose pair attempt to nest there, but it has been predated...putting a platform on the water may avoid that, but it's on a long list.

Until it broke, there was a bird bath beside the bird feeder.  There's also often water at the septic ejection site - I can't say I've seen any sort of wildlife in there, but cattails have sprung up there too.

We do have a couple low spots on the property as well that collect water during spring melt and when we have wet times.  Those are left somewhat natural, but I do want to dig the one a bit more to turn into a moist garden area (it seems to me I had another name for that spot, but it isn't coming to me right now).  

One weekend, we had over 20 bird species...during spring migration we often see a couple varieties of sparrow that nest way up north.  The first time I identified them (Harris' sparrow was one) was kind of special.
 
Posts: 71
Location: Perth, Western Australia
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Mark Reed wrote:I voted yes, although I originally just wanted a little garden pond. It has a small stream section, and the pump runs year-round so it doesn't freeze.  Or if it does, I go out and open it up. All kinds of critters take advantage, my favorites are the birds. Open water in winter attracts more and more kinds than feeding.


Amazing number of beautiful birds! I have a wild emu who drinks from my horse water trough/bath. She loved the dam (Aussie for US stream fed pond) and would lie in the shallows preening herself not unlike chicken do. It's dried up now as it does in the summer.
The horse trough is sheltered under a carob tree (locust?) and the bees love the blossom. Many fall into the water so I have to put branches across to give them a purchase.
I have an overflow dish on the ground for the smaller animals although the ducks tend to find it and make it muddy.
 
pollinator
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Yes, i have 2 dams 500,000 Litres
 
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can't figure out how to work your voting -- it makes no sense to me any way I try.  I figure that if you want a vote, I should be able to click on something that will mark a vote.
 
Timothy Norton
master gardener
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Anore Jones wrote:can't figure out how to work your voting -- it makes no sense to me any way I try.  I figure that if you want a vote, I should be able to click on something that will mark a vote.



Welcome to Permies!

To vote in an apple poll, one must have apples! I have given you your first apple on this forum so that you may participate. It is kind of like a token of gratitude from someone who appreciated what you have posted. There should also be a 'People's Choice' option towards the right where you can also vote outside of the apple poll.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
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Derek Thille wrote:One weekend, we had over 20 bird species...during spring migration we often see a couple varieties of sparrow that nest way up north.  The first time I identified them (Harris' sparrow was one) was kind of special.


Wow. Big wow. Sighting a Harris' sparrow is not far from sighting a unicorn gambolling through the fields. They are so damn rare. Good job creating a space for them.
 
Posts: 255
Location: Iqaluit, Nunavut zone 0 / Mont Sainte-Marie, QC zone 4a
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Mark Reed wrote:...my favorites are the birds..



You made my day sharing those pics!
 
Ra Kenworth
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Yes, I have over 100 pigeons. They need access to water clean enough for me to drink, several times a day, and I use the rubber 4" feed platters, warm water, at least one away from where the pigeons hang out, so they can drink between stealing a wide variety of grain. I rarely catch anyone but jays drinking but plenty of tracks
 
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Yes, a birdbath, and I’m planning a small pond.
 
pollinator
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What beautiful birds. I once had a piliated woodpecker at my duet. There are lots of winter birds at the feeder and I would probably have more if I put out a heated water bowl for them. Thanks for the reminder. Summertime I have a big dog water bowl in  garden with a flat rock in the middle and I try to keep a couple of large buckets of water out for the deer. I put long sticks in them so that small swimmers can get out.


I will look for a picture of the piliated.
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Not piliated woodpeckers
Not piliated woodpeckers
 
pollinator
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We adjusted our fence installation to allow wildlife free access to the pond. We also expanded the shallows and wetland habitat around it for wildlife. It’s great to hear the frog song start this time of year.
 
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Bonjour,

Love the bird pics and all the comments, of course.
There are two bathtubs here,; they get water from the rooves before feeding a not yet pond and an underground water cistern, which in turn feeds butts in veg patch using a pump.
The baths are excellent for starting cuttings when I dont know whete to place cuttings. They are chock full with splendid roots of willow, roses, pyracantha and stuff I’ve momentarily forgotten.
Birds can venture into these bath tub jungles for secret drinking sessions.
A third bathtub is waiting to be placed somewhere sensible.

There are sticks in all available buckets, with compost cocktails or whatever, to prevent drowning and facilitate access to water. I love watching beasties shimmying down the sticks.
Bigger beasties also come to drink, certainly deer and fox.

Mosquitos- I’m installing bat boxes as there is a shortage of roosting spots. The bats obviously can’t perform their fabulous drinking on the hoof? skkimming over the water surface but hey, why not a spot of carpentry.

Thanks to us all with bountiful well manured blessings
M=H
 
pollinator
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On our property we have a creek running through from northwest to about midsouth. It's very attractive to birds and much other wildlife. We widened out four spots on it as a sort of experiment dabbling in pondering. After that we ran pigs around in roughly same area but a bit above to help clear out a bit of land
The pigs created allows which along with the ponds quickly filled up with frogs. Toads also increased. We have lots of trees which attract lots of birds. Our snow in fall,winter and spring waters birds as well as any big or little spot of water.
The past summer we had a fairly long dry spell. In the past deer were eating my garden when that happened and I theorized that the deer were thirsty as well as hungry. This last time they left my garden alone so I believe the one pond which didn't dry up kept them satisfied. We don't see that many of the animals that stop for a drink but we see footprints in the snow and in the mud.
 
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What I leave for the wildlife - I leave a border of "weeds" growing on two edges of my vegetable garden. These edges are along cyclone fencing and I have dishes of water placed in my garden and in the weedy borders for bees, birds, frogs and whoever passes by.
 
Derek Thille
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:

Derek Thille wrote:One weekend, we had over 20 bird species...during spring migration we often see a couple varieties of sparrow that nest way up north.  The first time I identified them (Harris' sparrow was one) was kind of special.


Wow. Big wow. Sighting a Harris' sparrow is not far from sighting a unicorn gambolling through the fields. They are so damn rare. Good job creating a space for them.



I didn't realize it would be that surprising.  I figured our property was just a decent resting spot (relatively open, but some trees and shrubs with black oil sunflower in a feeder, and we happened to get the timing right to see them as they passed through on migration.  In a similar vein, most years we catch glimpses of snow geese on their way south stopping over to glean in fields near our property.

I took a quick look but couldn't search out any photos on this computer.  I may have some on a backup drive...otherwise they may have been lost with hardware failures over the years.

I'm not much of a birder, but do enjoy seeing some variety.  I do putter with the Merlin and eBird apps and support Birds Canada.
 
pollinator
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I should get one of those hanging small birdbaths, that's all I'd be able to really do here at my apartment.
 
gardener
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We have a shallow dam outside our front window.  WE regularly get royal spoonbills and other waterbirds.  Over time, we are getting some good reeds around the edge to slow evaporation and protect the birds from predators.
 
Catherine Guzovich
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I was asked if I intentionally leave dishes or containers of water in the weedy border of my garden and the answer is Yes. Quite often I see birds, frogs, bees and other flying insects drinking water.  

Also, I grow Borage, it has thick hairy leaves and beautiful blue, bell-shaped hanging flowers and Arugula which has tiny yellow flowers. Both are enjoyed by bees. I have both of these plants growing on my property besides the garden. Arugula is usually covered with tiny bees. I leave them alone, they are enjoying the day.

As to eating Arugula, it does have a strong, pungent taste and smell. However, if it is cooked like you would cook spinach, the taste changes and it is almost sweet.

 
pioneer
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We haven't found a way to have water out in the winter without electricity yet, but we may go in for an electric pump in a pond next year. We leave dishes out in the warmer months, but they don't attract much because there is water accross the street. The snakes and frogs appreciate it, though.

In winter when the spiders wake up we leave a dish of water under our beds so they don't bite us. It's considered unlucky to harm them. I do put them out into the attached shop, but they find their way in an patrol all over the house, killing pine beetles and other unwanted bugs.
 
Derek Thille
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roberta mccanse wrote:What beautiful birds. I once had a piliated woodpecker at my duet. There are lots of winter birds at the feeder and I would probably have more if I put out a heated water bowl for them. Thanks for the reminder. Summertime I have a big dog water bowl in  garden with a flat rock in the middle and I try to keep a couple of large buckets of water out for the deer. I put long sticks in them so that small swimmers can get out.


I will look for a picture of the piliated.



How big are the tracks of the "not pileated woodpeckers"? Over the years, I've seen turkeys in the region and I've come across some fair-sized tracks in the snow on our property.  We regularly have gray partridge around as well which walk about a lot, but should have much smaller feet.
 
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https://ibb.co/hCYqGFm
A stock watering bowl for kangaroos was added to an old bathtub used to grow water lilies. Some rescue goldfish living in the old bathtub needed a cage for protection from butcherbirds. Kangaroos were dislodging the cage to drink from the bathtub hence the  additional drinking point.
The goldfish are now gone, the cage has beenremoved but everybody prefers watering bowl now.
Magpies love bathing in the bowl even though they barely fit.
We also have two small dams on the property and four birdbaths in the gardens around the house. Any drum or bucket holding water has a stick inserted as an escape ramp for insects, birds, whatever falls in.
Our bird list count is up to 106 species, mostly spotted while sitting on our verandah looking at a birdbath.
https://ibb.co/801h6cH
Male Regent bowerbird
Even the local Lace Monitor lizards look for an easy drink:
https://ibb.co/YtyHxCB
We have no domestic animals so the local wildlife is thriving.
 
A Campbell
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I’ve just discovered how to attach photos to posts so here they are in case the links for the photos in my previous post don’t work.
Somehow the kangaroo picture loaded last instead of first.
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pollinator
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i put out a water bowl in the "Hell Strip" in apt parking lot, that I'm weeding and planting in. The bowl was for a baby bunny that the mom parked there but now I hear a frog. Aha! now I have an excuse to put out more water features, after I pile pine cones under the 2 bushes to discourage cats. I'm in awe of how quick the wildlife is moving in. Next a high hanging bird bath + a shallow rock & moss filled bee waterer.  This is also an excuse to go to 2nd hand store to get some big olg ceramic platters.  Where' my car keys? (partner sighs and rolls eyes)
 
gardener
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I grew up in Oregon with a creek and swamp and puddles all over, so setting water out wasn't a "thing".

Then my husband and I moved to the desert SW.  Keeping water available for animals not only helps them here, but let's you see the coolest creatures! Besides birds... bobcats, foxes, badgers, peccary, toads and even Gila monsters come to the watering spots. They also attract all sorts of beneficial insects, including wasps, bees and dragonflies.

We have metal bowls under each hydrant (water faucet) for animals, and also to collect drips.

Then we have a small stock tank with water plants in it. This one is a favorite for bees and wasps, who can perch on the plants and drink water. I keep mosquito fish in the tank to eat mosquito larvae.

We also have what's referred to as a tank- a seasonal pond that only fills with enough rain. We have two of these and they are naturally sealed. Our soil is very sandy, so they take years to seal naturally and the water still doesn't hold a long time. But it does infiltrate into the ground, and if there is enough rain toads reproduce in the ponds.

Now my husband is making a small decorative pond near our house. We don't want to to use plastic, so he is about to try making the base out of ferrocement.

It will have two "beaches" on it. That means it will have sloped areas that go down to the water, where small animals can drink and also swim out if they fall in.

This is very necessary- desert animals don't seem to know as much about standing water, and many will fall in and die if you don't provide a way out. Even our fairly shallow metal bowls under the hydrants need rocks in them, or baby quail can fall in and drown.

To keep the water clean, we are intending to have about half the surface area in water plants. This has worked well with my two other stock tank ponds thus far. We will keep mosquito fish in there, too, for eating mosquito and midge larvae.

So here's hoping the ferrocement pond seals up well! I'm planning to show a step-by-step thread once it's done (and we are sure it worked...).
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Anne Miller
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Update to the large pond that is empty.

It is no longer empty.

Dear hubby went out to check on the wildlife water tank and found the pond is full.

He said that he was surprised that we still have water at the house.

The timer broke so the water was on constantly to fill the water tank.  Then a hose busted which filled up the pond.

This is not very environmentally friendly though I am sure the wildlife is happy.
 
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Anne Miller wrote:Update to the large pond that is empty.

It is no longer empty.

Dear hubby went out to check on the wildlife water tank and found the pond is full.

He said that he was surprised that we still have water at the house.

The timer broke so the water was on constantly to fill the water tank.  Then a hose busted which filled up the pond.

This is not very environmentally friendly though I am sure the wildlife is happy.



Ohh no!

A boon for the animals but what a pain for you. I hope that the fix is straight forward and doesn't take too much to get done. As my grandfather would say "Its always something."
 
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