Monday, April 9, 2012

A Pond Draws in the Birds

We have a pond at the edge of our yard that is quite small and filled with various pond and wetland vegetation. A pond so small may seem like it would not attract many birds, but in fact, this pond has attracted numerous species that may not otherwise spend time on the property. The most common species to visit is the Mallard. During the spring, it is very common to find a pair or two swimming around. There has been a pair of Mallard in the pond every evening and morning for the past few weeks. For some reason, they disappear during the middle of the day!

Recently, Wood Ducks have been spending more and more time in the pond. Just last night, a pair spent a good portion of the evening swimming around and feeding in the pond. The brilliantly-colored male is a wonderful bird to watch, and the female, with her teardrop-shaped eye patch is equally intriguing.

Even herons have stopped by at the pond! I see Great Blue Herons at the water's edge a few times every year and once a Green Heron even stopped by for a little while. While the pond is too deep and not muddy enough for many shorebirds, Solitary Sandpipers don't mind ponds like this one. Occasionally one will spend the day at the pond before continuing on it's migration. I have only ever seen them at the pond during spring migration.

On rare occasions, even kingfishers will land in the trees over and near the pond. However, I've never seen one catch anything from the pond. There are no fish, but there are certainly plenty of Green Frog tadpoles.

This pond goes to show that even a small bit of water can really help birds as a stop over site when they are migrating! For some of these birds, a small, but beneficial habitat is far better than being without food or a habitat that they are used to.

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