creating a bird attracting garden

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Ezekiell's picture
creating a bird attracting garden

Hi everyone!

Ive just moved into a semi-house with a tiny backyard. The plants in here are mainly just mexican swiss cheese plants, jade trees, and a few unidentified evergreen european bushes. Im not allowed to plant things in the ground so Im wanting to create a container garden and scatter pots around the beds with native trees to attract birds.

We’ve recently bought 2 grevilleas, some kangaroo paws, christmas bush and Waratahs. I also have a wollemi pine thats coning and we’re planning on getting a wattle or banksia too. We also have a bird bath and a window feeder that we put out every other day with either minimal seed or fruit as bird snacks (sometimes the birds visit and snack, sometimes they visit and forage under the cheese plant/lawn, & we throw out any uneaten food and clean the feeder regularly to prevent disease).

We’ve seen a family of supurb wrens visit the lawn, magpies, crested pigeons, and indian and noisy minors. Lorikeets and pink galahs typically frequent the park across the road and some of the houses around us as they have large fruit trees, and Im hoping to attract them over as well.

What are some other good plants I can pot up in the garden beds? Id like the birds to have a functional habitat to forage in, with the feeder just being occasional extra snack option if the birds choose.

Woko's picture

Hi Ezekiell. Good on you for wanting to provide habitat for birds. And good on you for being aware that no matter the size of your garden there's always something that can be done to attract birds - which you're already achieving.

I don't know where you live but I usually adopt the principle that the best species to plant are those which once naturally occurred in your area. This is because they've naturally adapted over millions of years to the climate, soil & other natural aspects of the area. So the first thing you could do is get information from your council's environment officer (if your council has one), the nearest Landcare group or other environment group on what used to grow naturally where you live. You could also consult Dr Google for books on the native vegetation of your area. The park across the road may have some remnant native vegetation suitable for growing in pots so check out what's growing there & get advice if necessary. Even your nearest native nursery might be able to help with species identification & give you information on what to grow in pots, especially if it stocks indigenous species. If you post photos of any native plant species in the park on Birds in Backyards there may be members who can identify them for you. And don't forget to click on the Creating Places tab at the top of this page.

However, the environment provided by a semi-house with a small garden isn't very natural so there may not be a lot of indigenous species which would take to where you live. In this case, it's important that any non-indigenous plants you might plant in pots aren't going to regenerate nearby & eventually invade natural bushland. Eremophilas, especially red, pink or white flowering species, are loved by Honeyeaters & they don't readily regenerate. Eremophilas will grow in reasonably sized pots & have the advantage that since they grow naturally in dry areas they save on water. They also respond well to pruning which is somewhat important since you probably don't have any natural pruners such as Kangaroos where you live! (Although I note that you do have Kangaroo Paws!)

While it's wonderful to be able to observe birds close up by artificially feeding them it's preferable, in my opinion, to provide habitat which is as natural as possible to cater for their food needs. The debate on whether or not to artificially feed birds has raged long & strong on Birds in Backyards & in other places. You might be interested in typing <artificial feeding> or similar in the search box near the top of this page to get a flavour of the debate.

By the way, it's important for the survival of our native birds to discourage, even eradicate, Indian Miners. Another consultation with Dr Google can give you information on why & how to go about this. However, any eradication efforts will work best if you have your neighbours & local council involved with you in a concerted programme.

rosalie5's picture

Hello there! I agree with the comment above. You should provide plants that are natural for your area. Birds that occur in your region will come if they see something that is familiar for them.  

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