Just what exactly is a bird creek?
Have you ever taken a walk in a park or just out in nature and come across a gentle babbling brook? You know the sounds of water gurgling as it cascades over rocks or a fallen branch.
At the edge of the stream you may have noticed birds gathering for a drink and a bath. A place where dragonflies and butterflies come to drink as well. Not to mention the furry creatures.
A well constructed bird creek simulates what nature offers in the wild.
It is a little man made stream the you build in your yard.
It can be as short as five feet or as long as ten to even 20 feet or more.
Your man made stream runs on a re circulating pump and has a man made liner.
Some liners are preformed and yet others are vinyl that you can mold and shape
to fit your needs.
The picture to the right is a preformed creek from Avian Aquatics. They specialize in water features for birds and wildlife.
Before you construct your little water haven, there are a few things to consider.
Does your yard have a natural slope to it or is there a section of yard or garden you can work on to give it a slope.
Electricity, is there an outlet near by or can you put one in? Electricity is needed to run the pump and possibly add outdoor lighting.
How long do you want your bird creek to be and how simple or fancy will you make it.
Remember, you are making things to look and feel as natural as can be. That means adding some plants and a small tree or some shrubs. Consider using a broken branch or two and of course some stones and a few rocks.
This isn't a straight flowing stream, you want a few baby waterfalls and a couple of wading pools no more then an inch deep. A deeper pool at the bottom is needed to hide your pump.
It is the sight and the sound that attracts birds, plus you want it pleasing for your eyes and ears as well. There is nothing as relaxing as sitting by a stream than listening to the sounds.
Okay, you have a place picked out with a nice slope for your water to run down hill. Ideally, a foot drop for every 10 feet works.
Be sure to mound up or build your bird creek above the surrounding area.
DO NOT make it flush to the ground. If you make it flush or lower then the surroundings, you will have a nice mess every time there is a heavy rain. All the yard debris will end up in your stream.
You cover the raised edge with flat stone or pea gravel, what ever looks best or natural for your yard.
Over lap the material and if need be, use a seam tape. Now as you go along. be sure to make room for the pump and hose. A hose will be used to pump the water from the bottom back to the top of your new stream.
Make a few little falls here and there. By having an overhang, you will create more sound. If you want, have your new creation wind or wrap around some yard art. The possibilities are up to your imagination.
Garden centers can help you design and some places will even install it for you.
Before you put the finishing touches in place, test out your pump and water flow.
Lets say you are pumping 140 gallons per hour and your stream is one foot higher from top to bottom and your creek is 15 feet long.
Do you want a pump that pumps 140 gallons or do you need more power?
Figure that a 140 GPH pump will re circulate the water just fine, but will it pump up hill? For every 10 linear feet you need the power to pump up one foot. So now you are pumping the equivalent of two and one half vertical feet.
So now you are safely looking at a pump that pumps at least 200 to 300 GPH. It is always better to have a more powerful pump and look for one that has at least a two year warranty.
Everything is set up and running. You've adjusted the water flow and like what you see and hear.
Now, you can landscape your bird creek to your fit your needs as well as for wildlife.
Put some pea gravel in the wading pools if you like, this gives it a more natural look and hide the black lining. Place some rocks or a branch to give it a look and feel that you want.
Plant a few flowers for ground cover and a bush or small tree for protection. As your bird creek matures it will have that look of belonging.
You will be amazed at the activity your moving water brings and you just might find yourself sitting near it a bit more often.
To keep your bird creek clean, you will need to clean the pump filter every so often. Pick up leaf litter as you find it and at the begging of each season, give it a good cleaning. In the mean time, a little chlorine bleach every few days will help sanitize it. There are also chemicals and good bacteria you can purchase to keep algae down.
The positive results are well worth the trade off of some maintenance.
Bird Creek and Other Water Sources
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