Blue Jay: Yvette Radcliffe

Wildlife needs clean drinking water to survive. Birds need to bathe in order to keep their feathers in good working order, while other species including some amphibians, insects and other wildlife actually live in water.

You can provide this habitat component in a variety of ways, from a simple birdbath or shallow dish of water to a water garden or pond. Other water sources may include natural features such as ponds, lakes, rivers, springs, oceans and wetlands.

Any natural water source on your property can count. If you live in a coastal, river or bay area, that body of water counts as your habitat's water source if visible and adjacent to your property. If you live adjacent to a woodland, meadow or prairie your efforts to protect seasonal or vernal pools also count as a water source.

In urban and suburban areas consider these options for adding a water source for wildlife.

For a small spaces, consider adding bird baths and container water gardens.

For larger properties, consider adding a rain garden, pond, or backyard marsh.

Certified Wildlife Habitats not only provide water for wildlife, they use sustainable gardening practices that help ensure our human demands on water are kept to a minimum.

What water sources do I need to certify?

Your habitat needs one of the following sources to provide clean water for wildlife to drink and bathe:

Preparing your garden? View the checklist to ensure you have all the elements for wildlife. 

Find your element—purchase water elements from the National Wildlife Federation catalog.

Does your garden have all the elements to become a Certified Wildlife Habitat®? Certify today! 



Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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