Without doubt, birds are an important part of our environment and a way of assessing it health.

Take some time to visit your local park or reserve, like Wittunga Botanic Garden, and you’ll soon appreciate how an abundance of bird life enhances your outdoor experience.

Imagine our bushland without birds, it doesn’t sound appealing does it? Encouraging birds into our yards and getting them to stay is not as difficult as you might think. It’s all about getting the balance right.

What birds really want from a garden is a place to find something to eat and somewhere where they can nest and be safe. When it comes to food, understanding what birds eat and the overall diet they prefer is essential to know what to plant and attract them to your backyard.

When it comes to diets, birds fall roughly into four different categories – nectar feeding; insect feeding; fruit and seed feeding; and carnivorous. Nectar feeding birds, such as parrots, lorikeets and honey eaters feast on the pollen of native flowers. And don’t they love it.

Bottlebrush, along with grevilleas, eucalypt and banksias are nectar bird magnets. And don’t think you’ll need a massive garden to fit these in. Grafted eucalypts growing to only a few metres plus many dwarf forms of the other nectar producing plants are available from your local garden centre. Another great thing about nectar feeding birds is they help with plant pollination.

The one thing flowering plants bring is the insects and with those come, the birds. Small insect eating birds have been the hardest hit by urbanization. They not only have had to cope with the steady decline of their natural environment, they’ve also have to share the space with larger, more aggressive birds especially the pushy, Noisy Minor.

Another consideration for creating a bird friendly garden is habitat. Dense shrubs are an ideal hiding and nesting spot for many small birds. Thickets of growth in melaleuca and grevilleas make perfect homes.

Tree hollows are another excellent nesting spot especially for larger birds such as cockatoos, parrots and kookaburras.

Nesting boxes are certainly something worth attaching to a tree to mimic the hollows these birds would naturally find.

Many people love to throw a few scraps out for the birds. While this may seem a kind thing to do, we have to be careful these birds don’t become reliant on us for food. If you are going to feed any native birds best to do it irregularly and with a dedicated native mix.

This goes for ducks especially, who have a pretty diverse diet include plants, seeds, insects, worms, snails and crustaceans. Unfortunately bread is not on their menu as is offers high calories and few nutrients which can leave ducks malnourished.

If you’re looking to bring birds into your yard and get them to stay. Pick plants that provide food and shelter and a place to call home.

Some top Bird Friendly Garden websites to visit:








About The Author

In the Garden is an exciting new local South Australian TV program on Channel 9 this Summer & next Autumn showcasing the best ‘green’ stories this state has to tell. Check out the latest in garden trends, new plants and top tips to keep those gardens blooming.