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How to Attract Birds to Your NZ Backyard

See more about:  Nesting Boxes  Attracting Wild Birds  Attracting Birds to Your Nest Box  Attracting Birds with Nesting Materials
 Identifying New Zealand Backyard Birds

The urban sprawl that is occurring in most New Zealand cities and towns means that we are seeing less and less wild birds in our back yards.
Its not hard to understand the reason behind this
. If we cut down trees and bush as we develop a new suburb then we are taking away the birds nesting site and their ability to seek shelter from rain and wind. If we cover paddocks and scrub with roads and building we take away the birds food supply, and if fill in wet areas and culvert creeks and drains we deprive the birds of drinking water.

By understanding, and supplying, the four basic requirements of wild birds it becomes easy to attract many different bird species to your back yard.

A good food source is the most important thing you need to attract birds. You can supply natural food by planting selected shrubs and trees, but a faster and easier method is the use of bird feeders. Offering several different foods will attract a greater variety of birds.

Popular foods to attract birds include:
  • Seeds
  • Bread
  • Nectar
  • Fruits
  • Insects
  • Scraps
  • Nuts
  • Suet

Not all foods will attract the same birds. For the best results, learn which birds are the most common in your area and choose foods to attract them to your yard. A good start for the beginner is a seed feeder and a platform feeder. These can be placed in a safe location, either hung from a tree or a post, or mounted on a pole. Once your yard becomes a popular feeding site, word will get around the bird world and other species will start to visit,  and you can offer them treats as well. If birds see that other birds are feeding in your back yard they too will be attracted as they perceive that it as a safe place to come.

Water is even more important to wild birds than food in many areas of New Zealand.
Think about your back yard and neighbouring streets. After a period of no rain for a few days or even weeks,  the gutters and puddles dry up and there is no other places the birds can go to find the drinking water critical to their survival. Adding water to your backyard will quickly attract birds. Types of water features that are attractive to birds are:

  • Bird baths
  • Fountains
  • Ponds
  • A shallow dish or bowl

 For best results water should be kept fresh and clean. Moving or flowing water will attract the most birds because it is more visible and they can hear it from a great distance. So a small fountain or water feature with a pump is the ultimate but a shallow dish will be just as welcome to a thirsty bird.

One answer to the question how to attract birds to our backyard is to supply a shelter. In many suburbs today the big trees that supplied the branches, foliage, and nesting cavities are gone, and so to are the birds that relied on them. The easiest shelter that you can provide is a birdhouse which can supply a home for birds, a place where they can raise their young, and a shelter in inclement weather.
You can erect winter roosting boxes that are made to serve that specific function, they often have enough room to give shelter to several birds at once, some are open and give shelter primarily from rain  and wind.
As well as shelter from the elements, wild birds need protection from predators. Ensuring that your bird house and shelters are out of the  reach of cats and rats, and planting shrubs and bushes that birds can take refuge in for a short while before making their escape, will encourage more birds to think of your property as a safe haven.
Many plants can also serve as food sources for birds, so choosing plantings wisely can not only provide shelter but will also entice birds with a natural food source.

  Nesting Sites
 To encourage permanent residents, it is necessary to provide nesting sites for backyard birds. Many birds prefer to nest in natural      Locations, but man made sites can also be attractive and may be easier for you to enjoy. Nesting sites can include:

  • Trees and shrubs for natural nesting sites
  • Simple Nesting Boxes
  • Functional or decorative birdhouses
  • A brush pile for ground nesters

Different birds build different types of nests, from twig piles to dangling cups. For the best results, learn what types of nests your regular backyard birds prefer and offer nesting sites that are suitable for their needs.

By providing food, water, shelter and nesting sites, you can attract birds to your yard and invite them to take up residence.


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