How to provide water for wildlife

How to provide water for wildlife

All animals need water to survive, and providing it can invite a menagerie into your garden.

Water is essential for wildlife to thrive but it isn’t just for drinking. Amphibians like newts, frogs and toads use water as shelter and breeding grounds. Butterflies get valuable minerals and salts from slightly muddy sections of water, and birds use water for bathing – to stay clean and remove parasites.

Starling, hedgehog, frog, butterfly lined up

Just about any stand of water in your yard, from a tiny puddle to a pond, will be used by one kind of animal or other. To make it as appropriate as possible, ensure your water source is shallow with gradual edges a rough texture so that anything that climbs in can get out again.

Water is essential for wildlife to thrive but it isn’t just for drinking


During the hot summer weather it is important to have plenty of water for the birds to drink and bathe in. And during the chilly winter months as sources of water can become more difficult to find. Make sure your bird bath has gradual edges and is roughly textured. If you want to go the extra mile, hanging a drip jug above your bird bath will attract more birds as they hear the dripping water.


Top tips:

  • Put it where you can watch the activity – you’re not going to want to miss this
  • Place it near a shrub or tree: birds like to approach from a place of safety
  • Watch for predators such as cats
  • Leave it where you can easily access it for cleaning and filling
  • Introduce a water feature and provide water for birds as well as butterflies and other insects


When temperatures drop water freezes making it difficult for wildlife to find fresh water to drink. Break the water on bird baths daily or replace with tepid water.