Birds in a Suburban Garden

Wittunga Botanic Gardens

Wittunga Botanic Gardens

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.

Callistemon flower (Bottlebrush)

Callistemon flower (Bottlebrush)

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.

Some suggestions:

  • 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.
Flowers of a Eucalyptus Tree

Flowers of a Eucalyptus Tree

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5 Responses to “Birds in a Suburban Garden”

  1. All so very true and appropriate. Congratulations on an excellent post – if only it could be printed in every newspaper around the country, at least once a week.


  2. Trevor says:

    Thanks Gaye – I appreciate the feedback. Sometimes I feel I am just blowing words into the wind, but then a comment like yours makes it all worthwhile.

    You’ve also given me some food for thought – articles like this could be submitted to papers and magazines – if only one or two take up the offer and publish, that’s a few more readers, and potentially some people who will act on behalf of our lovely birds, insects, reptiles and animals. Thansk for the idea.

  3. […] Birds in a Suburban Garden Posted by root 19 minutes ago ( 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 but then a comment like yours makes it all worthwhile site by hampel g Discuss  |  Bury |  News | Birds in a Suburban Garden […]

  4. wendy says:

    having a major cull of the noisy miner which has greatly contributed to driving out other native species Im sure would have a positive result on other native bird populations because the miners simply come in and drive them out. The sparrow and turtledove may be introduced species but they are not way as aggressive as the noisy miners

  5. Trevor says:

    Thanks for your comments, Wendy. Despite the concerns of many people over the very aggressive Noisy Miner, any kind of cull probably will not happen. This is because they are a native species and therefore protected. This issue has been widely debated for some years now.

    I suspect that one of the contributing factors is that the NM is exploiting a niche environmental change: the miners like more open areas and not thick vegetation (as a general rule). The many open areas in gardens and parks available these days just plays into their liking for such areas. Extensive clearing of native vegetation has meant little remaining protective over for wrens, silvereyes, thornbills and the like. Culling the NM would only address a small part of the problem.

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