So what sort of garden is best for attracting birds?
Birds are very territorial and occupy various niches. Some birds occupy the upper canopies of trees, some the middle canopy, some the understorey and some the ground stratum. Our gardens should ideally have a range of habitats, which then provide a home for a broad range of bird species.
Our native birds also require native plants for their existence. Select a range of species for your garden with the aim of providing flowers for 12 months of the year. Some birds feed on nectar, some on seed, others on insects and reptiles. Selecting local plant species is always preferred.
Creation of habitat for small reptiles is also important. Carefully placed rocks and logs add to the biological value of your garden as well as increasing the aesthetics if inserted with creativity.
Mulched garden beds are far more preferable to individual plants with lawn around them if you wish to attract birds which depend upon the ground stratum for habitat such as the bower bird. If you do have lawn let it seed occasionally for seed eating birds.
Birds also need water. Ensure you provide the water in an area safe from cats. No point in attracting birds to be eaten by your pet. Keep your cat locked up at night. Even with a bell around the neck cats can still hunt effectively and no young fledglings are ever safe from cats when they are still in the nest. Try not to be too compulsive when pruning plants. Birds need access into plants. Try not to keep them too clipped. This limits access for birds. Also don’t be afraid of insects on plants. Birds also eat insects. If damage to your plants is minor don’t feel compelled to spray them. If you do need to spray use organic products with low toxicity to avoid toxins traveling through the food chain and poisoning the environment.
Many birds are very reclusive. Try to have some wild or out of the way place for them to enjoy. As much as most people hate them, birds love woody thickets of native vegetation to build their nests in. Cats and foxes find these habitats hard to penetrate ensuring the safety of our small birds.
Our gardens should not only provide for us, consideration should be given to our indigenous neighbours. After all they were here before us.