These are the three elements to attracting wildlife. Most people begin with the food by putting up a feeder or two and food is a big attractant. Often the next step is adding a water feature. Water features can range from the complex and expensive to the simple and inexpensive.

I remember my uncle and I used to sit in his back yard. He had put in an elevated waterfall fountain where the water tumbled down like water in a mountain spring to a small sunken pond. On warm summer days when I went to visit, we would sit on the patio and visit. There was never a day when birds and squirrels would not come and drink and play. Birds and animals like moving water. Fountains like this are often over a thousand dollars to put in but they are very attractive. If you have that kind of time and money, they can be very restful.

At the other end of the spectrum is the simple and inexpensive. By inexpensive I mean up to about 25o dollars give or take. Within that range there are a variety of prefabricated bird baths. You can find all kinds of designs and imprints on these. This spring my local mega grocer was selling ceramic baths for about 45 dollars and they had small reservoir fountains for 100 to 200 dollars. My favorite local
nursery was selling plain cast concrete, without any embellishments, for 45 to 65 dollars. Simple bird baths like this will weather and soften over time or they can be painted with a non-toxic paint to liven
any garden. At 45 dollars each, it is not out of range for most people and you can easily arrange several bird baths at different heights to create a little oasis.

You can read more at my blog, TheNatureSchool.

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Comment by beth chase on April 5, 2010 at 6:03pm
Thank you. This was an excerpt from my blog and I do plan on posting about shelter in the future. As a beginner in the creating wildlife habitat game, it is fun to learn what the options are and what things look for. It was kind of a lightbulb moment for me when I made the connection between a large, 18 inch or so, terra-cotta plant tray and a bird bath. I can't afford a lot of 200 dollar concrete jobbers but I can buy a lot of $16.00 plant trays and pots and scatter them around.
Comment by Ernie McLaney on April 4, 2010 at 7:22pm
Great topic!
I would also like to add that most wildlife also need a place to raise young. Depending on the species, it could be water or it could be the same element as shelter, but for many species, there is a specific thing they are looking for when it comes to chosing a place raising a family and it may not be the same place they would use for shelter. As a Habitat Steward with the National Wildlife Federation, I feel they offer some great resources and tips for families and schools interested in creating wildlife habitats.

As gardeners head outdoors, I hope they will consider the many ways to attract wildlife and include natives when they add to their landscape. I agree that moving water is a wildlife magnet. In many cases, offering water is more important than offering food. Not only is creating a wildlife habitat good for nature, it also increases the value of your home.

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