Backyard Birds Newsletter
Attracting and Feeding Birds in Your New Zealand Backyard


        Summer - 2014 - 2015

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Welcome to the summer edition of the New Zealand Backyard Birds newsletter.  Once again it seems like everyone  has decided to give bird feeders for presents this year but fortunately we learned our lesson over the last two years and are keeping up with the orders coming in.

A big thank you to all those who have placed orders with us, or signed up to our newsletter this year. You have helped to make it another busy but fantastic year for us. We are really enjoying building a business based on our desire to see birds coming back and living in our New Zealand urban environments.
The amount of feedback and photos we receive from our customers is incredible and we are really heartened by all the new customers that tell us we were recommended by friends. 

Once again we have had a massive amount of feedback this year from customers telling us about birds coming to their feeders that haven't been seen in their area for many years.
Many of our customers are also telling us of the increasing number of birds using the nesting boxes this season which is a good sign that these birds have ceased to be visitors to an area and are now setting up home, and intend to live there all year round.

Summer is a fairly stress free time to be a backyard bird feeder. Most birds have raised their first chicks and these are old enough to be able to fend for themselves. Their parents will have shown them where to find food and many of you will notice the increase in numbers around the feeders as these chicks start looking after themselves.

The important thing at this time of year is to keep your bird baths topped up and, if possible, keep an area of the garden moist to encourage insects and worms, as well as make it easier for the ground feeding birds to dig into the ground. The moist dirt will also help the Swallows with their nest building.

Christmas Orders - We have had several enquiries asking if orders will be delivered before Christmas.
We dispatch our orders within 24 hours of receiving them via NZ Post. Delivery to a North Island address normally takes 3 - 4 days and 4 - 5 days to the South Island.
As Christmas approaches these times may increase due to the sheer amount of  mail.
We will be open until Christmas eve and would expect any orders placed before Friday 19 December to be delivered before the big day. 


Four Simple Things You Can Do For your Birds

At this time of year your local birds have survived another hard miserable winter and are starting to think about nesting, raising a family and feeding their young.
There are a few simple things you can do to help them through this time.

  • If your backyard is neat and tidy consider putting out some small piles of nest building materials. Pine needles, long grass stalks from the local park. Lengths of wool and cotton and even thin strips of paper from your office shredder are ideal.

  • Keep a part of your lawn or garden well watered and moist to provide building materials for swallows and also food in the form of worms etc for your ground feeding birds.

  • Put garden mulch around your shrubs. You can buy bags of this cheaply at your local Bunnings, Mitre 10, garden centre etc.
    This not only attracts worms and other insects but also provides nest building material.

  • If you don't have a bird bath at least put out a shallow bowl of water and keep it filled up. In most NZ towns and cities there is very little water for the birds when all the puddles have dried up after a few days without rain.
    Most birds not only require the water to drink but also to bathe in to control lice and mites

You Are Not Alone

The first-ever study of New Zealanders’ bird-feeding habits has found more than 5 million loaves of bread per year are fed to birds with an estimated $12.3 million spent annually on bird food, according to researchers at the University of Auckland.

But the study also found food put out for birds favours introduced species, such as blackbirds and starlings, over endemic species, with just 17% of householders providing food - for example sugar water - for natives such as tui.

It also found that bird-feeding hygiene habits are relatively poor, with just 8.6% of people cleaning bird-feeding tables and containers appropriately.

The research team, including Senior Lecturer Margaret Stanley, PhD student Josie Galbraith and Associate Professor Jacqueline Beggs, from the University of Auckland’s School of Biological Sciences, found most people feed birds because it makes them feel good.

Read complete article >>>

A Homemade Bird Scarer That Really Works


Many people love feeding birds but they don't necessarily want them nesting under their eaves or in other places around their house.

This is the problem that faced Pimm and Alison in Whangarei. They have a covered deck which the local birdlife just loves to nest under. The novel idea they came up with was a very basic drawing of an owl cut out of plywood about 200mm tall.
The owl has worked so well that not one bird has built a nest in the 3 years it has been on the wall even though their feeders and nearby trees are filled with birds.
The secret appears to be in the eyes. It doesn't really matter what the owl looks like as long as it has big scary eyes.


Top Christmas Gifts

It seems like Wild Bird Feeders and Houses are going to be popular gifts again this year.
To help you decide on a gift we have listed our most popular selling products this Christmas.
You can click on any product to see full details on our website
Don't forget that we
can include a handwritten gift card with the purchase containing any message you may wish to send.

We provide these cards free of charge. We purchase our cards from local charities such as the SPCA and Hospice when they are fund raising during the year. These cards are of superior quality and we can normally find one suitable for any occasion or age group.



Tui Bottle FeederThese are popular throughout the year but really come into their own as a Christmas gift. It is surprising how many customers tell us throughout the year that they first heard about us when they received a Tui Feeder as a gift.


Tea Cup Bird Feeder - Our customers are buying these for elderly relatives and friends who are in smaller apartments to put on their decks.
We received several emails after last Christmas telling us how well these gifts were received
Kitset Bird House - These are so popular throughout the year but especially at Christmas.
The kit sets give children a real sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing they have taken some basic materials and constructed a really cool bird house


Kitset Bird Feeder - We are really pleased how popular these are because we are really proud of them. They are simple enough for an 8 -year-old to tackle alone, and for younger children with the help of an adult.


Window Bird Feeders - These are popular all year but really come into their own as a Christmas gift for an older person. We have received some great feedback telling us how much these were enjoyed by housebound relatives.



Coconut Feeder - These are ideal for people looking for a lower priced gift. We have sold a lot of these to younger customers buying for their grandparents.


Dove Cotes - Our cotes are popular gifts throughout the year but far more so at this time of year. The largest group of buyers are husbands buying a gift for their wives
Christmas Special Package - We introduced this package last Christmas and they were a popular gift.
Many people were buying these as a gift to the family.
They contain a Small Tui Feeder, Small Seed Feeder, Fruit Feeder, Suet Feeder and 1 Kg of Wild Bird Seed


Seagull is NZ's latest endangered species

Sharing your fish and chips with the seagulls at your local beach may become a thing of the past

Seagull numbers in New Zealand are falling so quickly the birds now appear on threatened species lists, alongside the kiwi and the kakapo.
A Department of Conservation report on bird numbers has classified the black-billed gull "nationally critical", the most serious category, usually reserved for our rarest birds, because of the rate of expected decline.

 Numbers were predicted to drop by more than 70 per cent over the next 30 years. There were an estimated 180,000 to 200,000 of the birds in 1977. There are now thought to be 60,000 to 70,000.
 The red-billed gull, the mainstay of Kiwi beaches, is "nationally vulnerable". Numbers have been falling sharply at the three main breeding colonies and are expected to drop by between 50 and 70 per cent over the next three decades. The current population is thought to be fewer than 100,000.

Read complete article >>>


Recycled Bird Baths

Over the past two years we have heard from quite a few people who are using recycled items as bird feeders and houses.
Old soup ladles as seed feeders and teapots as bird houses can make interesting additions to most gardens.

This bird bath was made from a glass light shade that Sharon found in a local op-shop. Not only do the birds love it but it is an attractive feature in this part of her garden


New Products

Hanging Bird Bath

Provide a decorative source of drinking and bathing water for the wild birds in your garden with this heavy duty glazed stoneware bird bath complete with galvanised chain.
The 350mm bath is inset into its own 420mm deck. The deck not only acts as landing platform for the birds but also a place where they can rest and groom themselves, giving you more time to enjoy them. You can also place small containers of feed on the deck to create a one stop feed and drink station.

This Bird Bath is ideal for small yards or decks. Hanging baths are safer for birds because they are not so vulnerable to cats etc while they are wet.

The deck is finished with 2 coats of Cabot's timber stain.
Stainless steel screws.
Galvanised chain.
Tanalised Plywood deck

Approximate Dimensions
410mm x 410mm

 more information >>>

Know Your NZ Birds


With their distinctive fan tail and loud song they are one of New Zealand’s best known birds particularly because they approach so close to humans.
Read Article >>>

Question and Answer Section

Q. I need to get advice about suitable feeders for my city backyard. The birds I'm interested in are finches, sparrows, tuis, fantails and waxeyes.
 I've been feeding sparrows and finches from seed tube feeders and hanging them from a fence, but It's not an ideal arrangement as the Wellington wind can on occasions blow them down.
I have a small, young kowhai which attracts tuis when it blooms and I have tried hanging seed bells from it but they also blow down. I don't presently have any other trees.

 I was reading on your site about providing somewhere like a deck for finches to provide some cover, but I don't have anyplace like that. I don't want to hang anything from the eaves of the house.
 As you can imagine, my garden isn't large. I calculate I have room for two poles and a feeding table.
 I also want to make sure that whatever I have is able to be kept hygienic - that is, the feeders can be removed and cleaned properly and the top of the feeding table is removable so it can be scrubbed properly. I feed birds at Zealandia and I want to be able to follow a similar cleaning regime.

I'd be grateful for any help you can give me to decide what I need to purchase.
Regards Mary L

A. Hi Mary
Thanks for your enquiry.
You are wanting to attract a variety of birds all of which require their own types of feeders.
Tuis and Waxeyes are mainly nectar feeders so the will need a syrup feeder such as our Tui Bottle Feeders

 Fantails will need a fruit feeder because their main diet is fruit or small flying insects like fruit flies which are also attracted to the fruit feeders . You will find that waxeyes will feed on this fruit also

.Tube feeders are the best for finches but make sure you are using a finch mix otherwise most of the seed will be wasted, their beaks are designed to handle the smaller round seeds found in this type of mix.
 Also consider removing most of the perches so you leave just a stub. In the wild finches feed on seed heads so grip onto the grass stem while bigger birds will need a larger perch to sit on.

 The only other birds on your list are the sparrows and these are easily feed by spreading broken bread on the ground if you haven't got the room for a feed table.

From your description of your backyard and the list of birds you are interested in I would use a pole mounted Tui Feeder,  a Pole mounted seed feeder,  a Fruit Feeder And a tube feeder.

 If you have trouble finding sheltered places to hang your fruit and tube feeder consider using metal brackets (available for hanging plants from Mitre 10 etc) attached to your fence, house or a pole in the garden.

 I agree with your desire for feeder hygiene This cant be stress enough. The pole feeders can be removed by undoing one screw while the fruit feeder and tube feeder are hung on hooks I hope this helps



Photo of the Month

"I am sure we have the first of this season’s young coming to sup now.  Flaxes are beginning to flower well now so that will help keep them fat and healthy!
I’ve attached a photo from this morning at the feeder!  More Tui were out of shot!"

Good wishes


We love receiving photos from our customers and have decided to include the best ones in each newsletter, so please send us your photos.




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