We love requests!… and we’ve had one for some information on bird attracting plants. Everyone’s gardens are different, so this is brief guide for further research. Firstly, what do you want the birds to do and what kinds of birds do you want to attract? Do you want them to stay, play and nest or just use your garden as a supermarket? This will help determine whether you need plants that provide food, bring in insects or provide shelter or nesting materials. Eg, if you only like smaller birds, large flowering plants may encourage large and aggressive honeyeaters such as Noisy Miners and Red Wattlebirds that can chase away smaller birds. Select plants with smaller flowers, ones that small honeyeaters can fit their beaks into but larger ones cannot.
Secondly, consider your garden environment – do you have poor soils or do you have a large or small space to fill? (consider the plant maturity size). We recommend using local, endemic natives that can cope with poor soil conditions and our weather extremes. Local council nurseries are a great source of information here.
Here’s some ideas: Prickly plants such as Hakea’s provide shelter. Grevilleas provide nectar, insects and shelter. Banksias provide nectar and shelter. Acacia’s provide seeds, insects and shelter. Baeckea’s provide shelter, insects, nesting materials and nesting sites. Callistemon’s provide shelter, insects and nesting materials. Correa’s provide nectar. Leptospermums provide shelter, insects, and nesting materials. Grasses, reeds and sedges provide seeds and nesting material.
Finally, birds (like all things) have to poop! If you like to attract large flocks, we wouldn’t recommend placing a bench or parking a car nearby, or planting by common walkways so you have dirty shoes walking into the house wink emoticon Also, be mindful of your neighbours and the potential of being woken up at 4.30 during the summer to what can sometimes be quite a lot of noise, depending on the bird.
Here’s a good link we’ve found that has some great information http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/Choosing-Native-Plants
Now is a really good time to plant so roots can become established during the months before the heat and stresses of summer. If anyone has specific plant suggestions, experience or something to add, we welcome your comments!