Even though there are some concerns about feeding native birds, there is no scientific evidence that it causes any harm. In fact, home owners assist in the survival of native birds by offering them food, water and shelter, protecting their nesting sites and growing Australian native plants in the backyard. It is particularly important to encourage native birds in city areas, to prevent pest species such as sparrows, starlings and Indian mynas from taking over.The good news is that populations of some species of birds, such as the rainbow lorikeet along Australia’s east coast, have increased tremendously since people started feeding them.
If you are feeding native birds, it is important to feed the correct food. The ideal feed for lorikeets and other nectar feeders should be well balanced nutritionally, and similar to their natural diet of pollen and nectar.
Don looked at three products suitable for feeding to rainbow lorikeets and other nectar feeding birds.
Vetafarm Blossom Nectar is a liquid food which does not require any mixing or preparation. It is suitable for both lorikeets and other nectar eaters. Although it is very easy to use it is not as nutritious as the powder based products, and it is a little more expensive.
Vetafarm Golden Lori Dry Nectar is a nutritionally balanced, powdered food that can be mixed up 500ml at a time and the unused portion frozen.
Wombaroo Lorikeet and Honeyeater Food is a well balanced, powdered food that can be mixed up 500ml at a time and the unused portion frozen.
The Nekta-Vite plastic bird feeder shown in our segment comes apart completely for cleaning and easy refilling.
Do not overfeed. If there is food left every day, you are feeding too much so reduce the quantity you put out. Keep food receptacles scrupulously clean to avoid transferring disease. Discard any leftover mixture in the feeder and clean the feeding vessels as soon as possible after feeding. Always make fresh mixture or use frozen mixture. Never recycle or use products past their use-by dates. Lorikeets are most active in the early morning and late afternoon, so these are the best feeding times. Place bird feeders out of the reach of cats and other predators. Always provide fresh water for the birds, and grow native food plants.
Product cost and availability
Wombaroo Lorikeet and Honeyeater Food – $7.00-$8.00 for 300g Vetafarm Blossom Nectar – $5.00-$7.00 for 500ml Vetafarm Golden Lori Dry Nectar – $10.00-$12.00 for 450g These products are available from pet stores and vets, or from the following outlets:
Wombaroo Lorikeet and Honeyeater Food
Pet Care Direct, phone (02) 9533 3785
Cooinda Downs Pastoral, phone (02) 4284 3011
All WIRES (Wildlife Information and Rescue Service) outlets phone: (02) 8977 3333
Wallabaroo, phone (07) 4947 3271
Albion Vet, phone (07) 3357 7849
Healthy Bird, phone (08) 8522 2684
Native Trading, phone (08) 8277 7788
Jenny Banks, phone (03) 6228 4248
Carole Baimbridge, phone (03) 9746 1007
Wildlife Carers Supplies, phone (08) 9571 8272
Vetafarm Blossom Nectar and Golden Lori Dry Nectar
Animal Supplies, phone (02) 9688 2949
Pet City, phone (07) 3349 2086
South Australian Bird Company, phone (08) 8260 5173
Kingston Aquarium and Pet Centre, phone (03) 6229 8205
Bird City, phone (03) 9354 0000
Bird Place, phone (08) 9453 6044
Other distribution outlets can be obtained by contacting Vetafarm, PO Box 5244, Wagga Wagga, NSW, 2650. Phone: (02) 6925 6222 web: www.vetafarm.com.au
Nekta-Vite Garden Bird Feeder
Cost – $40 (plus $16.00 postage and handling). Available by mail order only, from:
Nekta-Vite Manufacturing and Sales
PO Box 309
Jindera NSW 2642
Phone: 1800 335 952