Birds in a Suburban Garden
Losing native birds from suburban gardens is an Australia wide trend. The introduced species have largely taken over, especially the Indian Myna and the Common Starling, as well as the Common Blackbird, House Sparrow and Spotted Turtledove.
These species have taken over gardens aggressively and compete with our native birds for food and nesting sites. Added to this mix is the very aggressive native species, the Noisy Miner which exhibits similar tactics to the foreigners.
Cats, dogs and human activity also discourage native birds like the Wrens. Once gone, they are very difficult to get back into a suburban landscape.
Having only native trees and bird baths are a good start, but not the complete answer. Providing smaller bushes and ground cover for the smaller birds such as the wrens is most important. Our smaller birds need protection from predators and food such as insects, seeds and also nesting sites that are hidden from those predators.
If you look at a natural environment you will observe many layers – ground covers, small shrubs, taller bushes, medium and large, old growth trees which provide nesting hollows for parrots, lorikeets, possums, owls, bats and so on.
All are essential for a balanced, natural ecosystem and very hard to replicate in a normal suburban backyard. But that should not stop us trying. The more people who take this path, the better the chance of survival will be for many of our lovely birds.
- Keep providing water in the form of bird baths (but not food).
- Plant a wide variety of Australian species, preferably species found locally.
- Keep all cats away – they have no place in the Australian landscape. Period.
- Provide nesting boxes for parrots, possums and bats.
- Encourage all your neighbours to do the same.
- Spread the word: our native birds are threatened with extinction.
- Caring for orphaned birds
- Caring for injured birds – including links to animal rescue groups
- Great birding moments: Cockatoo Valley – an example of an excellent native garden, together with some beautiful photos of Australian plants.
- Mallee Native Plants Nursery – my wife’s blog about growing Australian Native Plants.