How to Attract Birds to Your Garden
There are some simple steps that will attract birds to the smallest garden, or even city a balcony.
- Put out a water bath
- Place a perch close by
- Place or plant suitable shrubs close to the bath
- Provide native shrubs and trees that produce flowers or fruit
- Provide nesting sites
A lot of folks attract birds by feeding. While this has good intentions and is a pleasant exercise in its own right, it can be counter-productive and harmful in many cases. Folks who feed meat to magpies and kookaburras, for example, facilitate greater breeding success than would normally be the case. This creates a local high density of these predator birds, at the expense of the smaller, prey species which will often disappear completely from your area.
Also, a diet of mostly meat lacks the nutritional value that predators get from consuming small, whole creatures. Another feeding habit that is particularly bad for birds is providing them bread. They will readily eat it but can become malnourished and ill from consuming too much. The best approach is to plant suitable trees and shrubs to create a balanced environment and a natural food chain.
I obtained nest box plans from the very useful http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/Nest-box website. For those folks who would rather buy ready-made nest boxes, there is a fabulous range of boxes specific to various species at https://www.nestingboxes.com.au/.
I made a variety of nest boxes from left-over building lumber as our house was being constructed. I have placed a number of different nest boxes in trees on our property. I used left-over paint as well, using blotchy combinations to make the boxes less obtrusive to the human eye.
The birds, and in one case a swarm of bees, had no trouble seeing the boxes though. Kookaburra and Boobook Owls responded nicely to the opportunities. Recently I was thrilled to see that Australian Owlet-nightjars had finally taken up residence after a wait of several years. That was a rewarding day or us.