And beautiful big trees at the Dunedin Botanic Gardens to harbour the birds and give us shade and beauty:
Birds Are Berry eaters. Plant trees which bear berries, and you will have abundant bird life in your garden.
Keep a big tree or two where birds can build their nests and find insects to eat.
Birds eat insects, slugs and snails, and so they are the best natural measure you can take to ensure that pests do not get out of control in your garden.
Birds are vulnerable to slug pellets which also kill worms. Birds and bees and butterflies – and people and pets- are all vulnerable to insecticides. So slug pellets and insecticides of any kind should never be used in the garden. Each bird is capable of eating hundreds of tiny insects such as aphids, midges and flies in a day. Birds should be encouraged. They bring beauty, music, joy and life into every garden which caters for them.
No use having a tightly clipped and manicured garden if you want to encourage the birds and hear their bird-song though. A corner of the garden should be allowed to become a little overgrown, if you want to attract the birds. They love high hedges and trees where they can build their nests safely away from all those prowling cats and other predators.
A large tree such as an oak, or a willow, is wonderful to have in the garden, if your garden is big enough to accommodate one. These large trees support insect life which in turn feeds the birds.
You can encourage the birds into your garden by growing fruiting plants to feed the birds. Trees which bear berries are bird-favourites. Mulberry trees, and elderberry trees are great to grow, as birds love these berries. There is always ample fruit for everyone, including the birds, with enough berries to make your elderberry wine or your mulberry conserve. Other berry-producing shrubs which you might like to put in the garden are berberis, pyracantha, viburnum and cotoneaster.
Fig trees and plum trees, are always popular with the birds, as well as the family. A good plum tree will bear mountains of fruit – more than enough for the household to use. The plums fallen on the ground will attract thrushes and blackbirds, so long as there are no cats about. Guavas and feijoas also give prolific crops to feed hundreds of birds and still leave you with plenty of fruit to turn into jam and pies.
The flowering cherry is a lovely thing to grow, as its abundant flowers are beautiful to behold, and these have a simply divine perfume. It offers plentiful food for the birds when the fruit arrives after the blossom has fallen.
Kowhai trees, a native of New Zealand, are especially loved by the Tui for the nectar in their flowers. Other birds such as finches also enjoy the sweet kowhai nectar. These same birds love the flax plant , first because of the nectar in the blossoms, then because of its abundant tasty and nutritious seeds which arrive in the late summer.
The giant Flame Tree is a marvel for the birds. This is an introduced tree in New Zealand, but it is loved by the native Tui, and many other birds. If there is a flame tree about, you will hear choruses of Tuis happily singing all the day long in the summer, whilst they partake of the nectar from the glorious flame-coloured flowers.
Sunflowers are a colourful and happy sight in the garden when they are flowering, and still offer much pleasure when the birds come to feed on the sunflower seeds. There are many flowering plants which which have seed to attract the birds. You might like to try the Michaelmas daisy, marigolds, golden rod, forget-me-not, honesty, wallflower, snapdragon and pansy. Even the rose hips, which are the seeds of the rose, are popular among many birds.
Having a meandering grape vine is very attractive to birds, and if the vine is large enough, again, there will be fruit both for the birds as well as the family. It is a good idea to have a tallish trellis, or an old garden shed, which you can allow the grapevines to grow over, as this will help to protect the birds from cats. If the grapes are grown on a low frame, this is not so good for the birds, as they will be more vulnerable to cats.