If you wish to accommodate birds in your pond garden, whether they are wild or pet birds, some preparations are necessary. A few changes are needed to make their stay easier and to maintain the biodiversity of the area.
When we create an ornamental pond or pool in the garden, the first thing we tend to think about is how to accommodate the fish – we usually forget about the birds.
This is a mistake, because even if we don’t want pet ornamental birds, the pond will inevitably attract wild birds.
Many birds, like wild geese, barnacle geese, ducks, herons and swans, like to gather around sources of water. It provides a place for them to swim, eat and drink.
The water source you create must therefore be prepared in order to prevent these birds from disturbing the balance of the biotope. For example, it is a good idea to install fencing above the shallow water near the banks in order to protect tadpoles. Failing to do this gives future frogs no hope of escaping the voracious appetite of passing birds.
If aquatic birds frequently visit your pond, it is recommended to cover the floor of the banks with pebbles or plastic covering. This avoids sludge from developing. When a duck drops by, it will not be tempted to look for food in the soil, as the mud it digs up dirties the water.
If the pond is frequented by a lot of wild birds, it is essential to install big fish, as small ones will quickly be devoured by the birds. The same precautions should be taken if you choose to have pet ornamental birds. You should also install a fence around the water to prevent your birds from escaping and to stop predators like the fox from dropping by for dinner !
There is a huge range of ornamental birds available. 160 varieties of duck are domesticated, ducks like mandarins, shovelers, shelducks, wigeons, pintails and wood ducks. Other birds like teals, and common and barnacle geese are also domesticated.
These birds don’t require much looking after. If you have a small pond, you may need to feed them from time to time. They should be treated for worms twice a year – this will keep them in good health and will preserve the quality of the water.
The secret of creating a successful garden pond lies in the ability to create a complex ecosystem in which insects play an important role, as they, unintentionally, provide essential food for fish and batrachians.
The slightest water source buzzes with life ! Whereas fish and plants can be installed by human effort, insects are put in place (almost) entirely by nature ! And nature is evidently well organised, as within a few weeks of the installation of a pond many types of insects inhabit the water. These insects, which are brought by the wind, provide an essential food source for the fish and batrachians in the pond – that is, if the pond has been well designed, of course ! To ensure that these insects survive, create a space for them – a pond should include a place where the water level is shallow, to protect them from adult fish. A similar space should be created for smaller, weakfish.
Mosquitos are generally the first insects to arrive. These insects, though not very pleasant for the fragile human skin, are very much welcomed by fish, as their larvae placed on the surface of the water provide delicious eating for healthy fish. Apart from mosquitoes, other insects, such as the graceful dragonfly, inhabit the area little by little. Detritivores, phytophages, insect-eating predators, as well as strictly aquatic species like water bugs and predaceous diving bugs will also be attracted to this humid area.
These insects will in turn attract batraciens and birds. Generally speaking, they preserve biodiversity without disturbing the internal harmony of the pond. But certain species should be kept under surveillance. The caterpillar of the lily moth (a small butterfly) and galerucinae (a small beetle) should be controlled as their larvae devour the leaves of aquatic plants.
Greenly should be “drowned” from time to time by simply plunging the infested leaves under water to protect the lilies from carnage. The greedy greenfly will immediately provide a feast for the nearby fish.
The wide variety of insects attracted by stagnant water ensures the ecological balance of the pond. To preserve this balance, ban all pesticides from the area.