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How To Attract Birds, Frogs, Newts & Other Aquatic Life To Your Garden Fish Pond

A pond needs to be more than a sterile fish-holding hole in the ground to get maximum enjoyment and pleasure from the investment of time and money. Make your pond a haven for all sorts of wildlife, and creatures great and small.

You can encourage a wide variety of pond life into your water garden by making the water accessible both in and out. The best way to do this is by creating some kind of natural bridging system that looks to be part of the pond rather than the classical unmistakable wooden garden bridge made for people to stroll across.

You must have seen some form of life at some stage lying dead on the pond surface because the poor creature managed to get in but could not get out of the pond and in trying to do so used up all its energy only to eventually die from drowning or exhaustion.

The wildlife attracted by ponds and waterfalls or streams running into ponds include ...

  • Birds

  • Frogs

  • Newts

  • A wide variety of aquatic insects

Of this variety of insect life some (like the pond skater) swim on the surface while others (like the water boatman, which is quite an aggressive creature and predator) rise between depths and surface to breathe occasionally and some are the bottom dwelling type (generally the nymphal or larval forms of winged insects such as caddis, midge, damsel flies and dragon flies).

The latter 2 types require some form of plant or other structure to help them escape the pond unlike most aquatic insect types which rise to the surface just before hatching, discard their nymphal shuck and after drying out a while fly away. We inevitably think of mayflies and Irish Loughs under these circumstances.

You'll find that certain animals prefer shallow areas, others stony areas and still others wooded sections. Many insects prefer riffling running waters over a clean bed of gravel.

Animals need access to and exit from water at all times - such as the frog or toad. Birds need shallow water in which to bathe and drink without fear of drowning and for bathing they prefer shallow running water

With these thoughts in mind think of creating a natural bridge or access point ... use your imagination based upon these few tips.

  • Create a timber or log bridge over a section of your pond using a tree stump or branch. The branch could actually dip into the water and rest on the bottom of the pond giving any climbing animal perfect access. Birds will perch here as will the dragonflies and damsel flies. Beware however the birds like herons which prey on fish. Avoid making it too easy.

  • A very shallow inclined section of beach will allow animals to literally climb into and out of the water. Use stones, or pebbles to create such a stony beach effect.

  • Plants growing around the pond margins and continuing into the garden proper will assist entry and exit.

  • Another way to bridge an outlet for wildlife is to place stones and pebbles between planting baskets or planting pockets at the edge of the pond. In this way the rather steep sides of the planting baskets or pots can be climbed more easily. Flat slate inclined gently is a very good way of creating such a bridge.

  • If you have a waterfall and stream section place a boulder in the middle to create a resting place for birds and also to add character to the flow of water. Using numerous such boulders or larger pebbles will create very interesting flow effects that birds will love. Some insects can only breed in running water.

  • A range of pond plants including those with wide floating leaves will attract birds and frogs in particular. Submerged plants allow insects to breed and hide from predators.

  • In most ponds you'll see at some stage or another bloodworms characterised by their rapidly wriggling red segmented larvae form. These larvae will eventually turn into midges and similar insects. Your fish will love them.

  • This point brings to mind an important point about most ponds and goldfish or koi feeding... fish can survive in this kind of pond for very long periods without your feeding them pellets or food sticks since there'll be enough natural food to sustain them ... not make them fat maybe but they'll certainly live happily on their natural diet.


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