How to make your garden the one birds will flock to this winter
When the early settlers arrived in New Zealand, the dawn chorus was said to be deafening. The loss of so much of our native forest means the birdsong is far less these days. But there are some helpful things we can do as gardeners to look after our unique wildlife. Planting the trees and shrubs that provide birds with food and safe nesting places will enhance the birdlife in any garden. In winter, however, their usual diet of nectar, berries, seeds, and insects becomes scarce. Now is the time to supplement their food supply so the birds will stay around.
Create your own Wild Bird Café
Check out the 'Tui Wild Bird' range of attractive bird feeders in garden stores. There is a choice of ten different feeders you can hang in your garden to dispense Tui Wild Bird Seed - a nutritious seed blend of mixed millet, radish, rape seed, wheat, barley and sorghum designed to attract a range of wild birds to your garden.
Planting for the birds
When choosing plants for your garden, remember the birds. They'll reward you with their priceless birdsong and movement, and also help control insects, pests, slugs and snails.
Here are some of their favourite foods:
Kotukutuku (NZ fuchsia)
Exotic plants for winter food
Red flowering gum
Birds are vulnerable on the ground so raised feeders are the safest solution.
Sturdy tree branches, or a specially designed hook or stake are the best options for hanging your feeder.
Ensure you keep the feeder topped up through the winter months so birds know they can rely on the 'Café' to be open when needed.
A birdseed bell is an alternative to a feeder and provides birds plenty of entertainment and nutrition as they use their natural pecking instincts to pull apart the bell.
Make a sweet drink! Some birds are predominantly nectar feeders. Dissolve half a cup of sugar in 500ml of warm water. Tuis and bellbirds will love this when their usual nectar trees are not in flower.