Our biggest selling items, by far, are our Tui
Feeders. There is something about having Tuis visiting their
backyard that really excites most people.
We get a lot of enquiries from customers that have put up a Tui
Feeder and are either not attracting the local Tuis or are having
other problems, so we decided to devote a whole section of the
newsletter to addressing some of these queries.
Attracting Tuis to
and other syrup feeding birds are attracted by the colour red
because most of their food is found on plants and trees which have
this colour flower.
We advise our customers to add red food colouring to their syrup mix
and in most cases this will work. If you are still not seeing Tuis
at your feeder then you might consider using more red around the
Previous customers have had good results after
Painting their feeder bright red
- we have a customer with a large bush block and he painted some
feeders red so his staff could locate them easily. He reports
that these feeders go through three times as much syrup as his
other natural wood coloured feeders.
Attaching fruit such as orange segments to
- Waxeyes are attracted to the fruit and then find
the syrup. It is normal on most feeders for the Waxeyes to find
them first and then for the Tuis to follow. This is because both
birds share the same food sources but the Waxeyes aren't as timid
so are the first to try a new feeder. The Tuis keep an eye on
where they are feeding and soon come to investigate.
Putting flowers from a food source on the
- we have heard from customers who have had success by
attaching flowers from flax plants, flame trees and bottle brush
trees to their feeders. The Tuis know these flowers mean food so
come to the feeder and soon find the syrup.
One customer was successful after using red plastic flowers from
a $2 shop
Moving the feeder
- if you have tried all
the above and the local Tuis are still not coming to your
feeder, you could try moving its position to another part of
Just because us humans think a feeder is in a good location
there may be something about the position that makes the Tuis
We have had good results from mounting a feeder on a wooden
stake and putting it in the middle of a grass area as far from
houses, fences and shrubs as we can get. Once the Tuis find the
feeder and are visiting it frequently it is an easy process to
move it in small steps, over a period of days to the location
you want it.
Wasps and Ants and Bees Away From Your Feeder
One of the biggest problems our customers
report is ants, wasps and bees being attracted to the feeders.
The ant problem is relatively easy to combat.
If your feeder is mounted on a wooden stake or waratah standard you
can create an impassible barrier by smearing a ring of petroleum jelly
completely around it.
If the feeder is mounted to a tree or fence then the problem is a
little harder to solve. Try smearing petroleum jelly in a ring around the
outside of the bowl. This will stop the ants getting into the bowl
but they will still be attracted to the feeder and the syrup that the
messy Tuis have dropped out of the bowl. Another method is to stand
the bowl in a jar lid filled with water.
A good method to solve the wasp and bee problem
is to move the feeder. You only have to move it a short distance (500mm should do) The Tuis will have no problem finding it again but it will take the
bees and wasps a week or two to track it down because they are
not that smart, and will assume the food source is gone forever.
They may never find it in its new location, but when they do just move it back to the original location.
If this doesn't work, take the feeder down for a day, or so until you stop seeing
the bees and wasps looking for it. You'll see Tuis searching for it as well, but they won't give up nearly as soon as the wasps.
To reduce the attraction by bees and wasps to
your Tui feeder, place it in as much shade as possible.
Reduce the sugar concentration to 1 cup of sugar to 2 litres of water. The stronger the sugar solution is the more attractive it is to wasps
and bees so diluting the solution should help and it will still be providing the Tuis
with lots of goodness. You can sneak the sugar concentration back up in the
winter when they are gone and the Tuis are needing the extra energy.
Keep the feeder clean by washing of any spilt syrup with a garden hose at
When you initially put up your
feeder it will probably take some time to attract your first
Tuis. To avoid the syrup ageing in the bottle it is best to just
fill the bowl and keep the bottle in a refrigerator.
Tuis are very territorial and while your
local Tuis may be content to share a feeder, many don't and a
dominant male will chase the other Tuis and Waxeyes away.
be a good idea to set up another feeder in a location that cant
be seen from the original one to allow the other birds to feed.
Even if the dominant Tui decides that both feeders are his he
cant be in two places at once so the other birds will still be
able to feed.