The feeding of native birds is an increasingly important issue as new housing developments encroach on areas of bushland which provide food for these creatures.
Although there is some disagreement on the subject with groups such as WIRES recommending against feeding birds, Burke’s Backyard believes it’s important to keep native birds in their own environment. This can be helped by making up some of the natural food sources they’ve lost due to clearing of local bush.
Native finches are especially vulnerable, as they are usually quite specialised to a particular area and their seed grasses are often the first plants to go in housing developments. If they are scared away or die they will be replaced by foreign birds such as sparrows, pigeons or the dreaded Indian Mynah.
There are a few ways of providing food for native birds: Firstly, grow Australian native plants. Many species of Grevillea, Banksia, Callistemon and Eucalyptus will help nectar-feeding birds. Seed-eaters such as parrots also feed on Eucalyptus. For other seed-eaters why not leave a small patch of your lawn unmown so the grass can set seed and encourage the birds to forage for themselves. Alternatively, they can be offered a quality commercial mixed bird seed.
Remember, bird feeders should be hung away from fences or furniture where cats can reach them, and covered feeders will keep the seed relatively dry. If you are really clever, a feeder can be hung in front of a window and you can enjoy the view of birds feeding.
Don’t forget to provide water bowls, for drinking or bathing, again, located away from the risk of predators.