Attracting Birds with Native Plants
Watching birds in the garden can be a real joy, whether viewed from a seat in the garden or looking through a window from inside. The things we put into a garden and where they are put will affect the number, type and location of birds we find entering the garden.
There are two types of birds in Australia:
a/ The native birds There are hundreds of types. They feed on seeds, insects and other small animals.
They include parrots, cockatoos, eagles, doves, finches,honeyeaters, kookaburras, blue wrens, magpies etc.
In general, they complement the natural environment. They are rarely destructive of the garden. They often
have beneficial effects such as helping plant pollination and keeping a control on insect populations.
b/ The imported birds There are only a dozen or so different birds which have been brought into Australia since white settlement. Many of these are aggressive, have bred in large numbers and can have a negative effect on the environment. These include such things as starlings, sparrows and indian mynahs.
The imported birds have been responsible for spreading weeds and in some cases turning native species into weeds by carrying their seeds into areas where they were originally not from. (eg: Pittosporum undulatum originally only grew in east Gippsland. It has been spread by non native birds to central Victoria, where it is now competing strongly with natural vegetation in some areas).
Some Ways that Plants Benefit Birds
- By providing protection from predators such as cats. (eg: Dense scrub such as a clump of paperbark or tea tree will provide cover for birds. Trees provide places where birds can perch out of reach of predators. Rotten cavities in trees can provide nesting places and should not be removed if possible).
- By providing an environment where food sources can grow. (eg: Insects, slugs, and other animals grow on plants. Some types of insects thrive in flowers. Dead foliage dropped from plants provides a mulch on the ground where earthworms and other small animals grow).
- By providing nesting materials. (ie. Twigs, leaves etc collected by birds are used for nests).
- By providing protection from extremes of the weather (eg: On hot days).
- By providing seeds, fruits, pollen and nectar for birds for birds to eat.
PLANTS WHICH ATTRACT BIRDS
By planting bird attracting plants near the kitchen window, beside a patio area or next to the washing line you can bring birds to the parts of your garden which you are most often looking at.
Here is a very small sample of plants tat go well with birds.
Nectar Feeding Birds (eg. Honeyeaters, Wattle birds, spinebills)
are attracted to: Anigozanthos, Eremophila, Epacris, Hakea, Grevilleas (mainly red and pink flowering varieties), Banksias, Correas, Callistemons, Calothamnus, Telopea and large flowering eucalypts (eg: E. caesia, E. leucoxylon, and E. sideroxylon).
Fruit and Seed eating Birds (eg: Parrots) are attracted to these plants:
Acacia, Eucalyptus, Pittosporum, Eugenia, Syzygium and Ficus.
Plants which provide protection for Nesting, Perching etc:
Leptospermum, Grevillea rosmarinifolia, Hakeas, Acacia paradoxa, A. farnesiana, Bursaria spinosa, Clematis, Pandorea.
Plants which Harbour Insects and attract insect eating birds: Eriostemon, Dodonaea, Grevilleas, Leptospermum, Melaleuca, Eucalyptus, Kunzea, Xanthorrhoea, Xanthostemon chrysanthus, Alphitonia, Commersonia. Tussock grasses.