I don’t know if anyone remembers, but In some topic many moons ago I shared a photo of my pond and said one day I’d make a waterfall that connected into it for the birds to bathe in (and as a staging area for photos). Well, this summer it actually happened!
So if anyone’s interested, I thought I’d share some photos and some parts of the building process as I’m pretty proud of it.
We initially installed this pond in 2014 (I think).
It’s just a simple preformed liner pond that I think is either 75 or 125 gallons. It has attracted many species over the years, but there was never really a good area for the birds to land in it. I added some boulders and rocks into the water to create a shallow area that the birds could use to bathe and drink. You can kinda see it in the top left in front of the juncus. However, usually only one bird would occupy it, or birds who were interested could never find it. Thus, I always thought adding a nice shallow waterfall would provide the space they needed to actually enjoy the water. Though I never actually thought it would come to fruition, especially since its been 7 years.
But one day we just decided to give it a go!
Prior to construction, we watched several YouTube videos and read some books. We bought a waterfall spill way, tubing, some large flat rocks as we wanted a multi-tiered waterfall, and a pond liner. With that we headed out to my cabin to try and build it.
First, we had to build up the waterfall base. This involved many wheelbarrow trips full of dirt until we got a decent sized mound. Based on the rocks we had, we sorta just played around with them and molded the dirt until we got something that we liked. Getting us to this point:
Turned it on to see how it was flowing, and what needed to be adjusted
This led to the first bird visitor: a young nuthatch!
With the skeleton complete, we stopped here. We needed waterfall foam to stop the water from flowing underneath and around the stones, which we did not have.
We didn’t make it back until about a month later, but everything was still intact. Unfortunately, the heat dome was occurring during this time so it was HOT! We foamed the flat stones down in place (on the bottom and the sides), which made a huge difference. The next step was getting rocks, so we went rock hunting down a forestry road. My hands got burnt several times from picking up rocks, but we managed a pretty good haul.
From there, we unloaded our collection and sorta just started putting rocks in places. It was a bit difficult at first deciding what should go where, but then it suddenly just all went together like a puzzle.
At this point, we were about 70% through the rocks we had collected. Once all those rocks were in, we foamed them in place. To hide the foam, we stuck sand and small pebbles into it as it was drying. Once those were all secured, we then filled in the gaps with gravel, smaller stones, and dirt. I added some plants around it, and then we added bark mulch, getting us to our finished product:
Surprisingly, we used every rock we picked up and didn’t need to go out and get more. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, and can’t get over how easy it was, especially since it was my dads and I first time building one. In total it probably took us about 5-6 working days. Hopefully though it lasts the winter 😂. We got to enjoy it for about a week, and it actually was the best place to sit in the yard as the running water made the surrounding air much cooler.
The extreme heat kept most birds away, but it did attract many robins, chickadees, siskins, nuthatches, YRWA, pacific slope flycatchers, and even a rufous hummingbird was splashing around in it. Yet, I never managed a single photo.
Unfortunately, once we left we never made it back there for almost 2 months due to the wildfires, smoke, COVID, and life. So I never really got to enjoy it, or let the birds enjoy it (had to be unplugged). I managed to get there for a few days in late August, so I was hoping I could get a picture of a bird in it, but no luck. It was a really weird few days there, almost zero bird activity in my yard. I didn’t take many photos at all that trip as there wasn’t anything around to photograph!
This is what it looked like then, some of the plants grew in a bit more, others died.
Overall, I’m very happy with how it turned out, and I’m sure it will look better as the plants grow in around it. It makes such a nice noise, and the pictures don’t really do it justice.
I’m pretty excited to see what birds will use it next year! I know the white-crowned sparrows are gonna be ecstatic when they migrate through in May.