Attracting birdlife to your garden is something that we are always keen to do and we have lots of birds here at Puriri Lane, both native and the garden variety.
There are lots of ideas in this week's Garden Journal that we hope you will find helpful in order to be able to attract a variety of feathered friends to your place of residence.
I was very lucky to be able to take this photo of a Kaka in our Cherry Tree Te Mara
A bird feeder is the perfect way to aid in feeding your local bird community
Our Kereru friend making a stop by our bird bath at Puriri Lane
Don't feed Bread
We love to put bird seed, fruit and our little bird seed cakes out for them to help them get through the colder months before our Cherry trees start to come into flower in spring.
Our native birds don’t much like grains, and so are unlikely to eat the bread you put out for them. Instead that bread will attract introduced birds like sparrows, blackbirds and ducks which we have on our pond. These birds can become dominant and crowd-out our natives, especially the small ones, and whilst a variety of birds is great including garden birds, we avoid feeding bread.
We have a great little recipe which you can see below It is so simple to make up and we just use wild bird seed that we buy from our local store but you can also pick packets of it up at your supermarket along with a pot of Dripping that the recipe also calls for. A great fun idea to do with your little gardeners and get a bird shaped cookie cutter and fill it with the recipe below. Simply pop it in the fridge to set and then tap it out.
Sugar water is the perfect food for nectar-eating birds. You can make it by mixing 1/3 of a cup of sugar (preferably brown or raw) with 1 litre of water. Make sure your sugar water is in a clean dish, placed somewhere safe where cats can’t easily reach it.
I made these little bird shaped cakes for the birds to nibble on in winter and popped them on our bird feeding platform
WILD BIRD SEED CAKES | RECIPE
Wild Bird Seed
Melt 1 cup of dripping in a pot on low heat. When melted add 2 cups of Wild Bird Seed.
Spoon the mixture into muffin pans or if you are making these with children it is fun to use cookie cutters in flower and bird shapes as we have done in the pictures below. We pop ours into the fridge and then when they are set, simply pop the cakes out from the shapes or muffin trays.
Decorate with slices of orange or apple which you can put alongside your birdseed cakes on your bird feeder.
You can see some of the bird feeders below that we use in the garden and we also have these available for purchase here.
Help feed your garden birds by adding an apple and serve them up some snacks in style. Simply add your apple or chosen fruit onto the spike and watch your visitors arrive! Plums, halved oranges, pears and other soft fruits make a safe and healthy addition to a wild birds diet.
A little Thrush visiting at Puriri Lane
Why not make your own bird feeding platform - be sure to keep an eye out for out post featuring the one that we are making for our Tuis which sits under our beautiful Cherry tree Te Mara which we watch from the window as the Tuis in big numbers visit to get the nectar.
Little Waxeyes at Puriri Lane
Birds such as fantail and silver eyes are insect eaters so plant varieties are not as important as a healthy mix of spiders, moths, beetles, and earthworms
This little baby Fantail was learning to fly and our outdoor chairs were the perfect launching pad!
Wildlife has different requirements for nesting sites and hiding places. Kingfisher and morepork for example, prefer standing dead trees.
Fantails rely solely on insects for food, and birds such as Tui will also supplement their diet with bugs sometimes. So the more insects in your garden, the more food for our natives. Insects love leaf-litter, so you can attract them by having areas in your garden where you let leaves pile up on the ground instead of clearing them away. When you see Fantails ducking and diving around you, they are gobbling up the insects that you disturb as you eat.
Plant trees away from windows
Reflections from glass can confuse birds, and many native birds are killed every year from flying into windows. If you plant trees a little further away from your house you’ll be helping to prevent this from happening, and protecting the native birds that decide to spend time in your garden. We hope to at some point be able to offer a range of window decals which we use on our windows at home that will help prevent birds being killed by flying into windows.
This Tui is feasting on the nectar that our beautiful Cherry trees provide in spring here at Puriri Lane
Plant flowers that produce nectar in winter
Nectar-eating birds have plenty of food in spring and summer when plants are flowering, but they get hungry in autumn and winter because there’s less food around.
If you want to encourage birds in your garden all year round, make sure some of your plants are providing food during the colder months. Pūriri provides nectar, fruit and seeds all year, and our huge Puriri at Puriri Lane is a magnet for both Kereru and Tui.
Make sure the birds have something to drink
Birds need water too, and it can sometimes be hard to come by.
Providing a water dish in a safe place away from the reach of cats, rats and dogs will mean birds have something to drink, and somewhere to take a bath. Having running water, such as a fountain will attract the most birds, as they will be able to hear the water and know to come looking. Our Kereru are regular visitors to our birdbath which we keep topped up with clean water daily
In summer we always make sure that we have our bird baths full to help our feathered friends either take a dip on a hot day or provide some water.
The Kereru below are regular visitors to our garden all year round and frequently meet at our birdbath for a catchup and a drink!
Our native birds aren’t good at protecting themselves or their family from introduced animals like mice and rats. Rodents will eat their eggs and chicks, so it is important that you make sure your property is safe for the young natives when they do choose your garden to raise their family.
These bird babies were kept an eye on by me daily and I loved watching them grow
Some information taken from the Department Of Conservation website - you can read more here
Have a look in your garden and see what you can do to encourage more bird activity, here's a bit of a summary below...
- Mulch or leaf litter on the garden where insects, spiders and other invertebrates like to live
- Lots of friendly creepy crawlies like spiders, moths, beetles, earthworms and stick insects
- Places for invertebrates to hide or live in such as rotting woodpiles, cracks and holes, old concrete or low thick growing plants like coprosmas where lizards can hide
- Lots of worms in the soil
- Spiders' webs
- Water for birds in places that are safe from cats
- Plant trees and plants with nectar that birds love
- Provide bigger trees for birds to sit and nest in