There are several acacias that produce nectar in amounts useful for birds. I
have a 6 metre tall, 20 year old Cedar Wattle (Acacia elata) in my small
garden and when it?s in flower it?s visited by Eastern Spinebills, New
Holland Honeyeaters and Silvereyes feeding from the nectar glands on the
leaf stems. At other times it?s visited by a constant stream of birds such
as Brown Thornbills, Lewin?s Honeyeater, winter flocks of Silvereyes and the
odd Golden Whistler, searching the foliage for insects.
Even though it flowers well, it doesn?t seem to set seed. Perhaps this is
because there are no other specimens nearby? It is native to the area
I would welcome any suggestions for bird-attracting, shade-loving, frost
hardy native shrubs, climbers or ground covers! Any ideas?
Anthea Fleming wrote:
In suitable places, Silver Wattle can be a very big tree, on the east
side of the Baw Baw plateau about 60 ft, at a guess. It's in flower
right now all along the Yarra - sprays of small golden balls, covering
the tree. The leaves are feathery. (If you don't have one, get a copy of
Leon Costermans' small book on tree recognition at once and start using
What birds *dont* they attract would be easier to answer!
They carry high insect populations and so get all sorts of insect
hunters checking leaves, twigs and bark and crannies, from Thornbills to
Yellowtailed Black Cockatoos splitting great chips out in search for
They are wonderful understorey cover for smaller birds.
Nectar flows from glands on the twigs in flowering season. The branches
are visited by insects and birds -maybe bats too- for the nectar. Many
parrots fairly chew the leafstems to pieces for it - I've seen both Musk
Lorikeets and Eastern Rosellas at work.
The seeds are nutritious and many seedeaters come for them - under a
wattle is the place to look for parrots and pigeons once the seed starts
to fall. The wattle plantings of the Yarra Valley Park have brought
Common Bronzewings back in recent years.
Do get out and have a look at them. Keep a lookout for the shrub
Hymenanthera aka Tree Violet, also in flower just now, tiny cream bells
along the stems and a heavenly scent.
Best wishes, Anthea Fleming in Ivanhoe.
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