Birds can be assets in the garden. They assist in pollination, aid in pest control and are generally pleasing to the eye and ears, if you are a fan of birdsong, that is.
Ways to attract native birds to your yard are;
Adding native shrubs; grevilleas, kangaroo paws, gum trees and banksias are favorites to honeyeaters and rainbow lorikeets as they like to get the nectar from their blooms. Native grass will also help attract insects for birds who like to forage.
Add a water source; birds feel safer when the water source is elevated so they are away from predators. Keeping a bird bath full of clean, fresh water encourages birds to come back as they know there is a fresh water source, especially in summer and on hot days. You'll need to clean the water each day to prevent the growth of algae and bacteria.
Give them shelter; areas with dense foliage make birds feel secure. You can also install nest boxes in trees as some birds like to nest in tree hollows but these are often hard to find. Ensure the nest box has a hole big enough for local birds but not too big so that predators can get in and attack.
Feed; many people like to feed wild birds, yet it is discouraged by many bird groups. Seed mixes such as GVG Wild Bird mix will attract birds like cockatoos, doves, galahs, parrots, and other smaller seed eating birds will try to pick at this mix.
Nectar mixes and sugar water will attract honey eaters and lorikeets. Lorikeets have a brush tongue that is specifically adapted for eating nectar from flowering plants. They cannot eat seeds as it causes damage and loss of the ‘brush tongue’.
Other birds like magpies and kookaburras prefer a high protein food. You can achieve this by offering meal worms and native insectivore mixes which have the perfect balance of nutrients.
Fresh fruit and vegetables will attract wild birds like rosellas, lorikeets and king parrots. Do not let the fruit sit for too long and spoil. Spoilt and rotten fruits can be harmful to birds by spreading bacteria.
If you are attracting birds through feeding, make sure that you feed fresh food in a clean feeding station to avoid bacteria and mould. It’s also a good idea to change which food you put out sometimes as this will help to prevent large flocks of predators like magpies coming in and prevents the birds from becoming reliant on your food source. Feeding birds in your backyard should only be a supplement/ snack compared to their natural balanced diet.