Declining Bird Population, Cats, and The Future Of NZ Gardens

DSCO 1532Dunedin Botanical Gardens: Pics  taken by Merrilyn on Holly’s camera

DSCO 1786

Plant More Flowering Trees Have Fewer Cats:  Cats are the worst menace to our birdlife generally, and especially to the delicate, fearless and friendly little fantail.  But the modern approach to gardens, i.e. not to have one except for useless palms and other non-flowering, non fruiting specimens, is spelling disaster for our birdlife, as well as imparting an ever more sense of drudge and worthlessness to the people who live in our big cities.

Art In Landscape:  Colour is everything.  We need the colour of trees, shrubs and flowers, and the sound of birds, to cheer us up  as we go about our daily business here on Earth.  Trees, flowers, herbs and weeds all have a purpose here on Earth, and one of them is to help advance our Souls.

So we need to protect our precious plants, our forests, and our gardens.  Every time a tree is cut down, two or more should be put in its place.

The problem is that people don’t keep gardens with good trees in them any more, and nor does our Auckland city council seem eager to plant any trees of the deciduous, fruiting or flowering kind, or pretty shrubs, in our parks and waysides.

The plantings that the Auckland City Council have done in proliferation around our new bus stations, motorways, and ‘park and ride’ facilities, are hideous to say the least.  All they have done is to plant monocultures of monotonous grasses and small green shrubs everywhere.   There is not a flowering shrub, tree, or a nice big specimen of English tree in sight to relieve the boredom of their landscapes in these relatively new gardens.  You might as well be in a supermarket, for all the joy you get from gazing at one of the Auckland City Council gardens on the North Shore bus routes.

The future of trees in our beautiful Auckland City is at risk, which means that the future of our birdlife is also at risk.

We are losing our beautiful trees, the wonderful specimens which our ancestors took great pains to bring here to make New Zealand a more lovely place.  Instead of keeping trees and gardens, modern yards get filled up with concrete to make parking areas.

City people often like to have concrete yards because they believe that they are the best thing,  being low maintenance.  This attitude is really such a pity, for the aforesaid reasons.   And this current attitude towards keeping a garden is a real shame, because gardens do not have to be a lot of trouble.

At the very least,  if you do not want to be spending time in the garden, your back yard should be the home of one largish tree, such as a silver birch, a maple, or an oak if you have the room, with some citrus, apple trees,  or flowering camelias.  These things take almost no work, except for the occasional pruning of the fruit trees, and the mowing of the lawns.  Simply by keeping trees of some sort in your garden, you are providing food for the birds, as well as a place for them to live.  Bringing life into your garden will enhance your own life., and bring joy to your neighbours.

The glory of  gardens with their flowers, and trees and shrubs of all kinds, and big and small trees which grace  the streets and our public places, is an important aspect of city life.  We need gardens and trees to soothe our souls, especially in the city, where the boredom of grey concrete overwhelms us, and the drudge of being indoors working, and the feeling of being ‘just another cog in the wheel’ do nothing to enhance the soul or to contribute towards a feeling of self-worth.

The glory and worth of a garden with its flowers and tall and small trees of many kinds, and the valuae of trees and gardens which should grace every streetscape, cannot be underestimated.

Beautiful gardens help people to become more balanced in their thinking, and in their actions.  Trees and birds charm our sensibilities and soothe the nerves.  Trees and birds gladden the heart and make us conscious of  Mother Nature and our Creator.

We need our gardens to be full of life, vitality, and colour.  Auckland City Council would do well to put more effort into planting more colourful gardens, full of interest, colour, texture, and shape, with  deciduous and flowering trees and shrubs.  One benefit of creating more beautiful parks and bus-stations would be less crime and less violence.

Cats Are Kiling Off Our Fantails and Other Beautiful Birds:  I remember the times when  fantails regularly visited our gardens.   Nowadays, you rarely see them. I was delighted and charmed, but also alarmed,  to see a pair of fantails in the garden here at Orewa beach, just yesterday.  They make such a lovely happy sound as they flit from the trees, but this happy sound alerts the nearby cats to their presence, and so I knew that the local predators who prowl my yard would be lurking not far away, ready to catch them.  Because of the cats,  I wasn’t altogether thrilled to see this pair of fantails, even though it has been at least two years or more since I saw one.

The last I saw of them was last evening again, flitting low over the lawn by the goldfish pond, where they must catch plenty of sandflies and midges.  I chased the cats away several times during the day.  Today, the fantails have disappeared.  I guess the cats got them early this morning, at first light, when no human was about to protect them.

These local cats even kill off the white doves which come to the garden whenever I feed the birds.  They have killed two that I know of, which were each one of a pair.  Now these two birds are without their partners and will not breed for this season.

So much for cats.

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