Attracting Birds into your Garden
Birdbath by my window ...
Birds in the Garden
Birds need to be considered as essential residents of any organic garden or farm, and attracting birds into your garden is simple. Birds bring movement, colour and activity, sounds and songs into your garden and are a constant source of entertainment and delight.
Attracting birds into your garden begins with providing safe, secure, private nesting sites. Dense plantings of native shrubs in out-of-the-way sections of your garden will provide essential nesting sites for small birds and provides essential nesting sites for small birds and provides nectar to attract nectar-feeding birds. Prickly shrubs mixed within the plantings give an additional protection from cats.
On farms, a hedgerow of bird attracting shrubs between cropping areas will provide a range of benefits.
In Urban areas, attracting birds into your garden may require a little more thought and ingenuity. In urban landscapes, nesting sites for birds that require hollow tress are becoming few and far between, and becoming moreso day by day. it can take upwards of 150 years for a tree to develop a hollow large enough to house owls, gliders, parrots, possums and small insect-eating birds.
Consider placing either home-built or commercially-made nesting boxes in existin trees in order to maintain a rich diversity of wildlife.
Small, insectivorous bats are nocturnal feeders and they play an important role in the control of night-flying insects such as mosquitoes. Bats such as Sugar Gliders mainly eat insects such as moths, grasshoppers, caterpillars and leaf-eating beetles; and also feed upon sap-suckers that exude honeydew, such as scale insects.
Water is an essential component in attracting birds into your garden. This can come in the form of a small pond, bird back or shallow dish filled with water. Providing water for birds allows them to bathe, drink and nest in the garden.
Birdbaths should be placed close to a nearby refuge of densely foliaged shrubs to allow the small birds easy escape and respite from predators.
In Australia, the wrens, robins, pardalotes, willy wagtails, honey-eaters, thornbills, warblers and flycatchers are primary insect eaters and do an enormous amount of pest and insect control, particularly of scale, aphids, caterpillars and grasshoppers. These insect-eating birds are predominantly smaller, and shrub-dwelling, needing protection from their predators such as cats and hawks.
Some excellent Australian shrubs and trees useful in attracting birds into your garden include Eucalypts, Banksias and Grevilleas.
Plant a variety of trees and shrubs for a varied diet. Native fruits are often sought after by birds, and seeds may also play a part in their diet. Grasses provide seeds and are an interesting pond or dam addition. Prickly shrubs provide good protection for birds, so plant these near a water source and throughout the garden for safe nesting sites.
Attracting birds into your garden is a simple and easy way to bring colour, sound, movement and pest management to your environment.