Honeyeaters and flowers
We have several different species of honeyeaters in our garden. The dominant species would have to be the Red Wattlebirds and the New Holland Honeyeaters. The Brown Headed Honeyeaters, Singing Honeyeaters and Spiny Cheeked Honeyeaters are not as numerous, nor are they as bossy.
Several days ago I was amused to see one of our native plants , and Eremophila glabra (prostrate form) shaking rather violently. After a few seconds of this several Red Wattlebirds emerged and flew away. The bush is currently covered in flowers and they were having a feast.
Another plant that is popular is the Eremophila youngii shown in the photo above with an upside down New Holland Honeyeater having a feed. This plant gets attention from the various honeyeaters many times during the day.
Whenever the various Eucalypt trees around our house and garden are in flower, these too get a great deal of attention, as in the photo below with a Red Wattlebird feeding.
A very effective way of attracting our Australian native birds to our gardens is to plant Australian native plants. There are literally hundreds of species to choose from, most of them quite easy to maintain and most have beautiful flowers, an added bonus. Here is a very brief list of some species that will attract birds to your garden:
For more information about growing appropriate Australian plants check out Mallee Native Plant Nursery.
These are beautiful birds…thank you for sharing. I particularly like the New Holland Honeyeater. A less obstructed view of one can be seen here http://www.flickr.com/photos/aussiegall/3631742225/
Thanks Melaleuca – my favourite shot of this species can be seen here:
CURRENTLY IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA DUE TO THE HEAT WAVE THE FOOD SUPPLY FOR HONEY EATERS AS WELL THE NUMBER OF BIRD POPULATIONS ARE RAPIDLY DECREASING IN OUR BACKYARD. WHAT CAN WE DO TO ASSIST IN THESE TIMES OF LONG LASTING EXTREME WEATHER? what is the food supply I could put out onto the bushes for these tiny winged creations? CHEERS LISA SIMONE
Thanks for your comments and question Lisa.
Honeyeater populations change frequently due to many factors and generally heat wave conditions are only temporary, lasting from a few days to about a week and do not change the food supply significantly.
What you are observing in the decline of honeyeaters is quite complex in its cause and relatively common. Most Australian native plants do not flower throughout the year and some only flower for a few weeks. Other plants, like some of our eucalyptus species may only flower every second or third year, depending on many factors, including rainfall. In any patch of scrub or forest there will be some flowering plants and many that are not flowering.
When there are plenty of flowers in a given area – and therefore much food for honeyeaters – numbers can increase rapidly with birds migrating from nearby areas where there is less food. Many honeyeater species migrate readily, some of them hundreds of kilometres. It is the supply of food that determines the numbers, not heat waves.
An added factor is the supply of insects. Many honeyeaters are also insectivorous and the numbers of insects available will also determine how many birds are present. Generally it is my observation that insect numbers increase during hot weather which favours the birds.
What can you do?
1. For the long term survival of all bird species plant a wide range of Australian native plants in your garden and encourage neighbours to do the same. This will not only ensure a long term food supply for birds, it will encourage biodiversity and bring in small mammals (eg possums), butterflies and other creatures.
2. In the short term, artificial feeding is discouraged for reasons too complex to go into here.
3. In the broader picture, discourage people from allowing cats into gardens. They are predators on small birds and a major contributor to the decline of birds in our gardens.
4. The best way to keep many birds in your garden is to supply fresh water in various shady spots but well out of reach from predators like cats. Bird baths are quickly found by birds in hot conditions and will ensure they stay around. Watching them drink and bathe also gives us as bird lovers much pleasure as we watch them.
Hope this has all helped.
Because you asked the same question on 3 different posts I am copying these answers on all 3 for other readers of this site.
[…] species shown in the photos above and below is Eremophila youngii which particularly appeals to the New Holland Honeyeaters that frequent this particular plant. An added bonus is that we can see this plant and the birds […]