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The Pond

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Old Saturday 24th April 2010, 02:06   #1
Gary Polliard
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The Pond

I have always wanted to build my own little bird sanctuary and 32 years ago it started with 5 acres. The first thing I built was a pond in 1980, 125 feet by 180 feet tear drop shape. The birds that it has attracted over the years have been amazing from the cedar waxwing to the American bittern. Like to hear of other forum members "bird sanctuaries" and some ideas they have incorporated to attract birds.
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Old Saturday 24th April 2010, 05:32   #2
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That is very impressive.
I hope you get some replies to your post it would be very interesting to hear what others have done.
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Old Saturday 24th April 2010, 09:47   #3
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Wow! That sounds great Gary.

I'd love to see some more pictures of the habitat and pond you've created.

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Old Tuesday 4th May 2010, 19:22   #4
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I would LOVE to do this on a larger scale, turing 5 acres of land into my own nature reserve would be my idea of heaven. I am hoping to work in conservation in the future, but this obviously means working at established large scale sites, not creating my own. The thought of single handedly making my own wildlife sanctuary is almost too good to be legal.

Although my garden is no where near 5 acres, I have attempted to attract more wildlife to it. I decided the best way to do it was to give them as much food and variety of habitats as possible. Started with a native hedgerow at the back of the garden, which includes hawthorn and blackthorn, with the odd larger tree and shrub thrown in for some diversity, namely alder, rowan and pyracantha. That should provide losts of berries and also be host to numerous moth caterpillars. Planted a couple of flower beds to attract butterflies and their caterpillars. Again mainly native species, cuckooflower, nettles, scabious, knapweed, thistles, birds foot trefoil, the list is quite extensive. Also dug out a pond and filled that again with native plants. Left some shallow edges for the birds to bathe in and drink from.

As I said this is only the first year, so the flowers are yet to, well, flower and the trees and shrubs are still only little. Hopefully the next 5 years or so will see a marked increase in the wildlife, including birds, in my garden. American bittern in the pond wouldn't go a miss

What you have done sounds amazing, well done!!

Adam
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Old Tuesday 4th May 2010, 19:42   #5
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Gary and Vallant you certainly have or are going to achieve a wonderful bird habitat. You both seem to be living my dream. Ideally I would love a house on a property with a lagoon, bullrushes, bushes, tress, some which would bear berries. I would put up a swallow house and a bat house.
Presently we live in a small town with about 200' of hedge, a berry tree (can't recall what type it is), and a willow tree. We get about 20 different breeds of birds at our feeders.
We have a nyjer seed, sunflower seed, mixed seed, Oriole, Hummingbird, peanut feeder, suet feeder and a bird bath. The seed feeders are located about 10' in front of our living room window with the remaining feeders and bird bath in the willow tree about 15' from our living room window. This provides us with ample bird watching opportunities.
I am afraid this is about as good as it is going to get for us on this property. Not that I am complaining, but your sites seem to be pretty well rounded for a variety of birds. Good for you, enjoy.
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Old Tuesday 4th May 2010, 20:00   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig S View Post
Gary and Vallant you certainly have or are going to achieve a wonderful bird habitat. You both seem to be living my dream. Ideally I would love a house on a property with a lagoon, bullrushes, bushes, tress, some which would bear berries. I would put up a swallow house and a bat house.
Presently we live in a small town with about 200' of hedge, a berry tree (can't recall what type it is), and a willow tree. We get about 20 different breeds of birds at our feeders.
We have a nyjer seed, sunflower seed, mixed seed, Oriole, Hummingbird, peanut feeder, suet feeder and a bird bath. The seed feeders are located about 10' in front of our living room window with the remaining feeders and bird bath in the willow tree about 15' from our living room window. This provides us with ample bird watching opportunities.
I am afraid this is about as good as it is going to get for us on this property. Not that I am complaining, but your sites seem to be pretty well rounded for a variety of birds. Good for you, enjoy.
To be honest my garden isn't brilliantly placed or sized, just making the most out of it that I can. I would love to be either out near some farmland or next to a woodland, instead my garden backs on to a mcdonalds drive thru I realised putting feeders up only attracts certain species of bird and I wanted not only different species of birds but a more biodiverse garden in general. So I sat down with a blank piece of paper and drew a birdseye view of what I wanted and where, then I did most of the work over last summer and winter. I can highly recommend it to anyone, the joy you get out of seeing something new in your garden and knowing its only there because of the work you have put into it is incredible.

I too want a larger site to go at, hoping for a lottey win sometime soon

Adam
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Old Tuesday 4th May 2010, 20:31   #7
Craig S
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Still sounds like you are going to have a nice setup Vallant. Do the best you can with what you have. That is what we have basically done. We would love to have a garden, vegetable and flower, but where we live the weeds are pervasive, they would require weeding daily and we would rather spend our time doing other things. We have some flower pots, they are demanding enough for us.
Good luck with your garden I'm certain it will be to your liking and a worthwhile accomplishment.
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Old Thursday 6th May 2010, 02:29   #8
Gary Polliard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valiantbirder View Post
I would LOVE to do this on a larger scale, turing 5 acres of land into my own nature reserve would be my idea of heaven. I am hoping to work in conservation in the future, but this obviously means working at established large scale sites, not creating my own. The thought of single handedly making my own wildlife sanctuary is almost too good to be legal.

Although my garden is no where near 5 acres, I have attempted to attract more wildlife to it. I decided the best way to do it was to give them as much food and variety of habitats as possible. Started with a native hedgerow at the back of the garden, which includes hawthorn and blackthorn, with the odd larger tree and shrub thrown in for some diversity, namely alder, rowan and pyracantha. That should provide losts of berries and also be host to numerous moth caterpillars. Planted a couple of flower beds to attract butterflies and their caterpillars. Again mainly native species, cuckooflower, nettles, scabious, knapweed, thistles, birds foot trefoil, the list is quite extensive. Also dug out a pond and filled that again with native plants. Left some shallow edges for the birds to bathe in and drink from.

As I said this is only the first year, so the flowers are yet to, well, flower and the trees and shrubs are still only little. Hopefully the next 5 years or so will see a marked increase in the wildlife, including birds, in my garden. American bittern in the pond wouldn't go a miss

What you have done sounds amazing, well done!!

Adam
The energy you show in describing you own habitat is inspiring to me. It doesn't matter how big your bird garden is, just the fact that you are creating one is great. I see so many yards with acres and acres of mowed lawn and wonder what a great wildlife garden that would make. Stick with your dreams. Gary
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Old Friday 21st May 2010, 02:40   #9
Gary Polliard
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Just got my property noted as a bird sanctuary with the Audubon. Got a nice plate to hang on a post with lots of information of improving the area. It is a program they promote, not a big deal but it means a lot to me and thats all that matters.
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Old Friday 21st May 2010, 14:52   #10
Craig S
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Hi Gary
Congratulations on your Audubon Bird Sanctuary. Your work has been rewarded, I would be quite proud to have that designation. Hope you post some more pictures of your sanctuary, a pic of the plate would be nice too.
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Old Friday 21st May 2010, 15:41   #11
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Well done Gary

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Old Saturday 12th June 2010, 02:59   #12
Gary Polliard
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Here is the Bird Sanctuary Plate sponsored by the Audubon society for individuals devoting thier patch as a bird sanctuary. The top is from the Audubon for a bird sanctuary and the bottom is from the National Wildlife Federation from their Backyard Wildlife Program. The other shows my feeding stations with the pond in the background. Its a great hobby.
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Old Saturday 12th June 2010, 03:27   #13
Craig S
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You should be proud. Looks very nice, it is something that I dream of doing. Well done. i'm certain you will get a lot of pleasure and satisfaction from your sanctuary.
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Old Saturday 12th June 2010, 08:33   #14
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What a beautiful area Gary. You've done a great job.

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Old Monday 14th June 2010, 11:23   #15
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Well done, Gary. That is a fabulous area.
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Old Saturday 6th November 2010, 00:24   #16
Gary Polliard
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Two mallards were on the pond all day. The rain would come then some sun and a chilly fall wind. The screech owl poked its head out from time to time, it has been back for over a month now. Finally got the feeder filled and small birds love it. Chickadees, tufted titmouse, bluejays like the peanuts, nuthatches like the shelled ones, the redbellied woodpeckers enjoy the big square suet, and the coopers hawk likes the birds. hey we all gotta eat. it was a great birthday.
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Old Saturday 6th November 2010, 03:49   #17
Craig S
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Sounds lovely. Also sounds like you are getting a lot of pleasure from your creation.
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Old Tuesday 21st December 2010, 03:29   #18
Gary Polliard
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The pond is froze over, the temperature not reaching the freezing mark for weeks. The screech owl pokes its head out to soak up the warmth of the sun when the clouds part and only the usual feeder birds are picking at the peanuts, thistle and oil sunflower at the station. They seem to be more tame or maybe just hungry and I must get some winter pictures. My sister called with good news that the screech owl box I put up for her last year, finally had one take up residence. A grey phase was looking out this afternoon. Christmas bird counts taking place in western pa. and must get involved in one.
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Old Sunday 26th December 2010, 21:47   #19
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I too have a smaller property in a suburban area. I have made the most of what I have and have had great results!

Our yard is in a good location to start off with, we have 5 huge mature deciduous trees around the yard, a thick cedar hedgerow surrounding the back, a lilac and magnolia tree, thick deciduous bushes, a huge blackberry patch and surrounding swamp, forest and pastureland

We are only on a 1/4 of an acre to ourselves, but I use the area around me to my advantage

Several of our neighbours have bird sanctuaries too, so we share birds beetween each other

A park one house over from us has huge mature pine trees, which also attract many birds!

Within our yard, I have added many logs and natural elements to make our yard more inviting to birds, I also leave the leaves on the ground after they've fallen to recreate a forest floor type feeling

I have over 20 feeders and feed a wide variety of seeds, suets and other alternatives

I have nestboxes mounted for squirrels, screech owls, wrens and chickadees. I also plan on mounting a wood duck box in the future, as well as bluebird and tree swallow nest boxes

A bird bath even attracted yellow warblers this summer!

My message to everyone is make the most of your property, no matter how large or small it is!
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Old Wednesday 5th January 2011, 17:49   #20
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This thread is so inspiring and has truly put a smile on my face. What it needs though is more PICTURES!! (I've been sick since New Year's so am birding and generally enjoying nature vicariously through my computer)

Congratulations to all of you for creating such beautiful areas, and to Gary for the Audubon recognition.
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Old Tuesday 1st February 2011, 05:23   #21
Gary Polliard
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Sounds like you have a lot going on Zoo. The low swamp land attracts much wildlife, it is a shame that so much is being destroyed. My list keeps growing of building ways to attract wildife. A second pond is to be finished this year but will only be stocked with minnows to attract more herons. I want to put up a kestrel house on the sunny hillside and move some big barn stones to make stone gardens. The ridding of non-natives will continue especially the multi-flora rose that are everywhere. The local Audubon sells native plants. I bought a macro lens for the wild flowers this spring so pictures will be on the way.
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Old Tuesday 1st February 2011, 23:20   #22
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Zoogoer and Gary you certainly are fortunate to have that land to make your sanctuaries. I've dreamed of having what you have. Must be very satisfying to have such lovely sanctuaries. Maybe in a few years my wife and I will have a property large enough to build a sanctuary, but until then I will have to live it vicariously through your posts. Looking forward to seeing more pictures.
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Old Sunday 20th February 2011, 20:22   #23
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The ice is gone finally from the pond. With a few sunny warm 50 degree days and being south facing, all the ice is gone and wasting no time a pair of Mallard ducks have decided to do breakfast.....lunch......and dinner there. They are using the shallow area that was dug out by hand and standing on the large rocks I put in the middle. Its great to see a plan come together. The pond takes on different colors as the spring turns into summer. The spring turnover occurs and a lot of the rotting vegetation comes to the surface. Not pretty but it happens. After the first spring rains it all dissapears and the water clears and life begins to start again with dragon flies, water beetles and the annual spring toad migration/mating party. Well getting too far ahead of myself but it is a big part of my small sanctuary.
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Old Tuesday 15th March 2011, 00:50   #24
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On the edge of the pond one day, I walked up to a mourning dove that was on the edge of the pond. Then noticed that the head was missing and spinal chord remained. It seemed as though it went in for a drink and some animal made a meal of it. Any idea what would do this. I came up with a weasel or a snapping turtle although had not seen any at the time.
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Old Friday 25th March 2011, 02:14   #25
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The spring turnover has happened in the pond. small chunks of rotting vegetation are floating on the surface and it looks a mess. Not much action on the pond as the weather is still too cold. Geese fly over honking but none have stopped for a rest yet. Usually a couple stop leave their calling card all over the shore and depart. Tried to put a nesting island on the pond but no takers. Going to try a large stocking of minnows to attract the kingfisher this year and hope that the minnows start breeding and multiplying.
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