Duck ©Janet Allen
An infrequent visitor

Water is an important habitat basic. Here are some water-related topics in our landscape:

Why creatures need water

Water is for drinking and bathing—and even is important as a source of mud.

For drinking

Mourning dove drinking  ©Janet AllenMourning dove drinking. Unlike most birds, they suck up the water, keeping their heads down.

Just like us, wildlife needs water to drink.

This shallow section of our stream has been popular. A lot of birds seem to prefer standing on stones to get a drink rather than standing in the water itself.

For bathing

Robins bathing(Enlarge) ©Janet Allen
Double-decker robins bathing

Just like us, wildlife needs water in which to bathe.

We designed part of our stream to be wide and shallow so that there would be lot of places for them to take a drink and to take a bath.

We also created sections of the stream to have different depths and rates of moving water. Some types of birds prefer one area to another, and it's always a busy place.

It attracts lots of birds: robins, goldfinches, catbirds, blue jays, mourning doves, and warblers to name just a few (as well as house sparrows, European starlings, and grackles, unfortunately).

Robins seem to be especially fond of bathing. They're there all the time.

For mud

Robins getting mud(Enlarge) ©Janet Allen
Robins getting mud

Here's our "bog," which is connected to the stream. Although we initially created this mini-bog to grow moisture-loving plants, it unexpectedly turned out to be more valuable as a source of mud. Many robins have visited this area throughout the nesting season to collect mud to build their nests.

Some bees also need mud to build their nests, but we haven't noticed whether they're getting mud from our ponds. They're definitely getting it somewhere since some of our bee houses have mud caps on some of their nesting cells.

When we think about it, we realized how little of this essential nesting material is available in the suburbs, which consist mostly of asphalt, hardscaping, and lawn.