Feeding Birds and Bird Gardens

To: "" <>
Subject: Feeding Birds and Bird Gardens
From: brian fleming <>
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2016 03:03:52 +0000
    I have no objection to feeding birds in a responsible manner - by
this I mean NO bread, and preferably no meat scraps or mince.  Magpies,
Currawongs, Ravens and Butcherbirds really discourage the smaller
birds.  If you offer sunflower seed you will certainly attract assorted
    Of course clean water should always be provided - possums need it as
well as birds.
    Dry pet-food should never be left out by the back-door - Common
Mynahs love it; also taken by Little Ravens.  It also attracts Foxes and
wandering cats and dogs.  Not to mention rats and mice.

    One does not need an all-indigenous garden to encourage the smaller
birds, including the smaller Honeyeaters and Silvereyes. Over the years
I have seen many nectar-feeding species taking advantage of Chinese
Lanterns /(Abutilon). /Also, a red-flowering plant I believe to be
/Tecomara /or /Tecomopsis/, a /Protea/ (subject of dispute between Red
and Little Wattlebirds).  Despite living in a Melbourne suburb, we still
have Brown Thornbills  and White-browed Scrubwrens in a dense shrub
border along our side-fence consisting of /Pittosporum //undulatum/, a
neglected /Prunus/, a non-indigenous long-leafed Wattle, the /Tecomara/
and some ancient half-dead Pear-trees. Nearby is a large Buddleia.  This
border is always full of birds, and the small insectivorous species seem
to use it as a base to patrol neighbouring gardens.  From time to time
they take the aphids off my roses. Blackbirds and Spotted Doves nest in
the Pittosporum and Buddleia.  As well as the nectar from the Tecomara,
my large indigenous Correa bush attracts Eastern Spinebills.  I live in
dread that our neighbour will get around to replacing the fence, when he
will agree to the fencers' suggestion that "First we'll have to clear
out all this rubbish."

     One reason small birds disappear from urban areas is the
disappearance of cover - established shrubs and bushes of almost any
species are better than none.  Of course natives, particularly
indigenous ones, will support an insect population which in turn
attracts the smaller birds.  Large established trees, live or dead, even
non-indigenous Sugar Gums and pines and cypresses, have their value.
Far too many gardens, particularly for new houses, are established after
a previous scorched earth phase, during which all the smaller birds have

     We used to have a much bigger bird-list - White-plumed Honeyeaters,
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Superb Blue Wrens, and even Crested
Shrike-tits.  These all vanished after another neighbour felled a huge
River Red Gum - which she considered ugly, and dangerous, because its
trunk had a slight lean. Microbats are now much less numerous and
doubtless many nest-hollows went with the tree.

Anthea Fleming

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