Water is a really important element in any wildlife friendly garden. All creatures from the tiniest bee right up to some of our biggest garden visitors including hedgehogs, foxes and badgers all have one thing in common. They all have to drink. Birds do too, of course, but also need clean water in order to bathe and keep their feathers clean and functioning properly. Before I moved into my current house , I lived in a flat where I was fortunate enough to have a balcony where I created a tiny wildlife garden (you can read more about it on my old blog by clicking here). Not having very much space there, I still wanted to add a source of fresh water for visiting bees , butterflies and birds and so decided to create a “bucket pond” which I managed to squeeze into a sunny corner of the balcony.
It was very easy to to set up. I simply bought a large galvanised metal bucket, filled it with soil to within 2 inches of its top and added a native “Yellow Flag Iris” water plant. I then added a thin layer of pebbles over the soil and filled it to the top with water. And let nature take its course.
Within a matter of days , birds started to visit in order to bathe and to drink in its shallow, 1 inch “pool” of water. Bees quenched their thirst as did the visiting butterflies and hoverflies.
Once I moved to my new house last year, I sited my “bucket pond” on the sunny patio area in the hope it would attract similar wildlife in my new garden. When it was on my old balcony , I could easily see who my visitors were but now that I had a much larger garden it was difficult to know what sort of wildlife , if any, was making use of it.
Recently, I’ve been experimenting with placing my motion activated birdcam in different parts of my garden to capture images and videos of any visiting wildlife. One of the places I moved it to was by the side of my “bucket pond” in the hope it would give me some idea of what, if any , wildlife might be using it. As you can see from the following images and videos, my little “bucket pond” is doing a splendid job of watering and bathing the feathered friends visiting my tiny wildlife garden
Above, gregarious sparrows drinking and bathing
From left to right , above, a visiting blue tit and great tit. The bottom two images are both sparrows
Although I’m now fortunate enough to have a much bigger (albeit 29 sq metre) garden, where I’ve now created a more “conventional” wildlife pond in my lawn, my “bucket pond” still has a valuable role to play in supporting my visiting wildlife. If you’ve been put off introducing a pond into your small garden or outdoor space because of size limitations , then why not make your own “bucket pond” and see what wildlife starts to use it. You might be surprised!