There is a constant battle during spring, when birds are competing for territory, water, and food to feed their chicks. Here in the Blue Mounains of NSW only the large cockatoos and kookburras rise above the fray. Size matters…..on the next level down currawongs will chase off wattlebirds, bowerbirds and parrots.
However, it’s the nectar feeders that are the most aggressive. Wattlebirds harass New Holland honeyeaters, and they in turn give the eastern spinebills a hard time. When the waratahs are in bloom it’s a nonstop battle for ascendency. And guess who comes out on top?
Effective birdscapng means more than just plonking a shrub or two beside a birdbath. Without really dense underplanting the smaller birds will qickly give up the struggle and disappear. Groundcover grevilleas are just the ticket, and keep the weeds in check as well. All the plants pictured below are Australian natives; mostly different varieties of grevillea.
The little New Holland honeyeater in the photo below is ready to dive below the canopy at a moment’s notice.
It’s important to use different colours. Spinebills really love yellow flowers, such as banksia serrata, or grevilleas with gold blooms.
Prickly plants are wonderful in birdscaping The birds don’t seem to bother with the nectar in hakea flowers, but the bees appreciate it, and those thorns are as effective as a barred window for a bird under siege.
The theory of dense planting works just as well with exotic plants. Instead of an expanse of lawn and the odd azalea shrub, try massed planting. The birds will appreciate it and the effect is great. Scrub wrens, blue wrens and thornbills love searching for insects in this bed under a variegated tulip tree.
Don’t forget to provide nectar all year round. Fragrant daphne is a winner in winter.
Oh yes, and seed and berry producers for ever hungry bowerbirds, wongas and parrots etc in autumn. There should never be a need to artificially feed birds, at least not here in the Blue Mountains. If you have a feeder to attract them, save your money on seed and buy more plants.
Providing fresh water is a different matter, just make sure the baths are close to dense shrubbery
What not to do…….!
Birdscaping a garden brings untold joy and a sense of wellbeing to me, bird, beast and bee. Never did we need this more.