Brisbane newcomer

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alfos1953
alfos1953's picture
Brisbane newcomer

Hi. I'm Alan and I moved to Australia from South Africa a little under two years ago. Recently bought a house in the Centenary suburbs of Brisbane and have begun developing a native garden to attract birds. Have been a little disappointed at the lack of success so far. Only birds seen at my table have been rainbow lorikeets (1 pair) and a single dove. Maybe I need to relocate the table, or just be more patient. Haven't seen any birds using the birdbath yet.

Meave
Meave's picture

Hi Alan, nice to see new people here, don't give up on the birds, they will come especially as you are interested in a native garden.
We find in our garden (in Kingston) that the grevillias and melaleucas are very popular with the birds, we always have double-barred finches and brown honeyeaters, and superb wrens keep producing offspring seemingly all year round. Our soil doesn't seem very good for bottlebrushes, they flower but not as well as the grevillias. When the paperbarks are flowering the crimson honeyeaters absolutely love them and we have other honeyeaters too at that time (late winter/early and mid spring). It did take time before they all found and used the bird bath, I guess it just takes time for them to be familiar with it and know it's safe. We also have some rather thorny grevillias, and the little birds like them for protection. Good luck with your garden and with the birds. Lots of peeople on this forum are knowledgeable about gardens too, I have found them all helpful.

Meave

Roseybee
Roseybee's picture

Hi Alan I am also new to forum and a safrican. As far as your garden goes, if you build it they will come. However if no nearby bushland to recruit from, you may not have a vast species variety.

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Hi Alan, welcome to the forum.Very good to hear that you are planting native plants in your garden. In time they WILL provide the right kind of food for the birds, but you have to be patient.Everything Meave says is good advice, so I won't repeat any of it. The only thing very dear to my heart is: Please don't feed the wild birds, they don't need it, and they are better off with food good from native shrubs !So, plant and wait, they WILL turn up! M-L

M-L

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Please ,have a look at this post Alan, you can see,what can happen to birds. The Beak and Feather Virus is spread rapidly from bird to bird at feeding stations.

Sick Cocky!
25-Sep-2011 1:30 PM

http://i644.photobucket.com/albums/uu168/Hendo88/th_P9250578.jpg?t=1316921054

http://i644.photobucket.com/albums/uu168/Hendo88/th_P9250579.jpg?t=1316921052

Hi there, we have a sulphur crested coming down for a feed, looks very unwell, does he have beak and feather disease do you think? Any thing we can do for him?
Cheers

From a not so cheerful M-L

M-L

Woko
Woko's picture

Good on you for creating a bird-friendly environment, Alan.
I've noticed that it takes a while for a native garden to mature to the point where it attracts lots of birds. For example:
- some plants need a couple of years, sometimes longer, to produce flowers
- it takes a while for insect, spider & butterfly numbers to build up
- how quickly these numbers build up depends, in part, on the vegetation your neighbours have & how close the nearest bushland is
- it also depends on local use of insecticides & other nasties which people use to decimate the local fauna
- lots of bird food such as beetles & worms depend on a high quality litter formed by leaves, twigs & branches falling over time from the plants
- a high quality litter also enables better water absorption into the soil by slowing run off thus providing plants with more water & thereby enhancing their flowering as well as their growth
I also strongly support, not for the first time today, what Araminta has said about feeding birds.
So, have a coffee, preferably in a large mug, & watch those plants grow. To make the exercise more interesting you might want to keep a record of the maximum number of each bird species that you see each day/week/month. That way you'll be able to see on paper or computer screen exactly how your garden is benefitting the local birdlife.

alfos1953
alfos1953's picture

Thanks everyone for the welcome and the advice. What I didn't say very well in my first post was that the home we bought has a well-established garden, but my goal is to add considerably more vegetation. What is the best way of identifying some of the plants that are already growing, so that I can learn more about them and make better judgement on what to keep and what to remove in time? I got a couple of really excellent books from the library but still haven't been able to id some of the plants, which may be exotics, not natives.

Woko
Woko's picture

AlanD, Speaking for myself (which I usually do!), it took several years of attending Trees for Life meetings, reading, visiting bushland in the company of a local biologist, visiting State Flora native nursery, doing a plant identification course at the local TAFE college & doing a bush care course for me to feel confident about identifying a range of native plants. I don't know what the equivalent of these would be in Brisbane, you'd need to do some research. Your local council might be able to help. Anyway, it's something which grew on me (so to speak!). You might consider contacting a local environmental group or making friends with your nearest native nursery. Taking photos of plants & then trying to identify them from photos in books can be helpful but it's not the be all & end all by any means. Perhaps Brisbane members of the group would be able to point you in the direction of organisations which would help. Good luck! Hint: If you're not sure of the identity of a plant, don't remove it. It might be the last one left on the planet.

timmo
timmo's picture

Alan,
Identifying garden plants of unknown origin can be a tricky thing. In some ways it's easier in the bush, cause you know they are going to be local plants. A few issues:
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1. They could be either or native or exotic plants, so you need to know which before you can even find the appropriate resource to identify them.
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2. Many (but not all) Australian native plants in gardens (e.g. most grevilleas) are not locally native in the Brisbane area, but are hybrids of plants from other areas (e.g. NSW, WA etc).
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3. Typically, books for identification purposes are geared to locally native plants of an area. Books for garden design are often not ideal for identifying plants, as they are organised differently.
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4. On the other hand, garden plants are often a fairly typical set of plants, based on common plants supplied by nurseries, so garden books will usually include these.
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If you can identify some of the plants and get a feel for the general flavour (if any) of plants the previous owners put in, it might help you know where to look.
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One of the best books around for identifying locally native plants in the Brisbane/SE Qld area is "Mangroves to Mountains".
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Hope that helps.

Cheers
Tim
Brisbane

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