Friday, 8 August 2008

Attracting nectar feeding birds to your garden

This winter, for us, has been a record for the number of garden visits from native birds. Whatever the reason, I would guess that most people could attract these wonderfully entertaining visitors to their gardens with very little effort. Time spent in the garden is brightened by their liquid notes.
At any one time we have had up to 7 tuis in this tree either feeding or, latterly, in courtship displays. We also regularly attract bellbirds and waxeyes.
These photos show the simple set-up. Plastic coated bicycle hooks screwed into the trunk of the shrub are bent to accommodate the rim of a small jam jar. Copper wire twisted round the rim holds the jar in place. PLEASE POSITION OUT OF THE REACH OF CATS. The shrub (Olearia dartonii) provides plenty of perches for birds to queue up, or escape from a tui in an aggressive mood!
Our two jars are topped up daily with sugar water: half cup of raw sugar in 400ml water.
It also helps to plant other shrubs and trees which provide fruit (Coprosma spp in a hedge is ideal), nectar (e.g. cherry, quince at this time of year - the list is much longer for later on. I think we benefit a great deal from a stand of Euclyptus gunii nearby) and shelter (our birds love to retreat into the native beech trees we have planted.
Good luck. The more of us who feed these birds, the more the whole township will benefit from their beauty and song.
Others may like to comment and add any useful tips. I am by no means an expert.


Anonymous said...

I think the whole world benefits from our feeding the birds, they just take it for granted. Penny

Cathy said...

When I walked along the Aparima River a few weeks ago, I was interested to find only a few harakeke. These would normally be part of the river ecosystem and are great sources of nectar. Kowhai trees also would naturally grow along rivers and streams and are sources of nectar. I would love to see us start planting along our waterways to improve food sources and recreate what it used to look like. I think even tourists are confused when they see native trees and shrubs in some towns but a predominance of exotics in others.

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