Making Bird Tenants Welcome

We have almost made it through.  Soon the sun will be shining, the birds will be singing and it will be spring again.  There is something magical about birds calling our yard their home, but if we really want to enjoy them and our garden we need to create a living space for these creatures so they are welcome guests rather then welcome pests.

The first thing we would do with any company is make sure we feed them.  When looking at a bird feeder we need to spend a little time finding out what birds are local to our area.  Although the design of many bird feeders is similar the way these flying friends eat and what they eat is as diverse as the possible cuisine in your neighborhood.  There is nothing more disappointing then buying a bird feeder and looking forward to seeing a certain type of bird only to find out that particular bird never comes around our house, would never eat out of that type of feeder or doesn’t eat the food we served.  Just like being sure we are aware of the dietary needs of our children’s friend when they come over we need to make sure first we understand the bird feeder needs of our feather visitors.

Once we start feeding the birds and word gets out we have the food they are looking for the birds will flock (pun intended) to our house.  If we want them to do more then just stop buy for a bite we need to provide the birds a nice bird house to live.  Since we now know what kind of birds we will have we can use that information to also determine what kind of bird house they need.  We can get birdhouses in sizes, shapes, colors, and styles so that the house will make the birds want to nest there as well as become a compliment to décor of our yard and garden.

What bird sanctuary back yard would be complete without a bird bath.  As you can imagine a refreshing break from flying around is a nice clean bath to splash in and relax in.  Besides pedestal style bird baths we all think of there are bird baths that can be mounted to a deck railing, ones that can be integrated into our garden pond and many other styles to choose from.  There are even bird baths that come with heaters and de-icers so that your back yard tenants can use them all year round to get a nice drink and keep themselves clean.

If you are lucky enough to life in an area where the are my favorite is the hummingbird.  As we know these speedy little creatures never stop flapping, even to eat.  Of course there is a special hummingbird feeder  just to meet their needs.  If hummingbirds live in your area I would encourage you to get some feeders for them.  It is an exciting treat to watch this beautiful little creature flit around our yard and drink from the feeder.  You won’t regret it.

No matter what kind of birds you end up with in your yard this year make them feel welcome with these few special things you can do to make your world inviting to our avian friends.

Tips for a Beautiful Pond

pond.jpgHaving a pond can introduce a sense of tranquility within your yard. The soft sound of the water and the beauty that a pond can provide can encourage a stress free environment. But what do you need to do to beautify your pond in order to reap the benefits that it can provide? Here are a few tips to help you to create a beautiful pond and keep it that way:

Fish
The size and depth of your pond will be a determining factor if you can safely add fish to it or not. You will need to ensure that your pond will be able to accommodate them. If you plan to add fish to your pond, you will need to determine if the depth of your pond will allow for it. It is recommended that the minimum depth of your pond for fish be at least 18”. However, 2 ½ feet is considered to be ideal. Remember that your fish will need cool water in the summer and will need to live under any ice in the winter. If your climate is extremely hot or cold, then you will need to ensure that there are a few extra inches added to the depth of your pond. This will have a considerable impact on the health of your fish.

It is usually a good idea to start small and add a few fish at a time. This will allow you to test the water in your pond and the surrounding habitat before you spend a lot of money. When adding goldfish and comets, a good rule of thumb is to add 1 inch of fish per every three gallons of water. For Koi, it is recommended to have five gallons of water for every inch of fish. As your fish grow, you may need to remove some of them to maintain an environment in your pond that is considered to be ideal.

You will need to treat the pond water with a conditioner before you add any fish. This is because tap water can contain chlorine, chloramines and other elements which are harmful and toxic to fish.

Plants
There are four major types of plants that are considered ideal for a garden pond. These plants are:

Oxygenating-These plants provide the vital oxygen that is needed by your fish and any other pond inhabitants.

Floating-The addition of floating plants will help to reduce the development of algae in your pond. A mature pond should have surface coverage of 60 to 70% by floating plants.

Water Lilies-These plants provide fish with needed shade and protection from predators.

Marginal Plants-These are found all along the outer edge of the pond. These plants blend in with the surrounding landscape and make the pond more attractive.

Maintenance
When you first install your pond, the water may appear to be cloudy until things have a chance to settle. There are also many factors which will encourage the growth of algae. These include strong sunlight, water that is warm and overstocking and overfeeding your pond fish. Using a skimmer will discourage the formation of algae in your pond. You can also add a UV sterilizer which will kill the algae and any other harmful bacteria. This will result in a clearer and cleaner pond. Using safe chemicals in combination with aquatic plants will also improve the quality of your water.

You will need to check the strainer cage of your pump periodically in order to remove any debris and keep it running at a peak performance. You should also clean the filters regularly so they can continue to operate at peak performance. This should usually be done once every two to three weeks for best results.

When choosing items for your pond, you should visit the aquatic section of your local garden center for help and advice. How are you planning to beautify the pond in your yard?

Photo courtesy of FreeFoto