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


        Spring - 2015

Spring is Here Again
At long last the best season for bird feeding is here again. Spring is special because not only are the local wild birds really active with their mating rituals, nest building etc but we are spending more time outside and so are seeing a lot more of them.
About half our nesting boxes are already occupied with busy couples building their nest so if you haven't already put out your nesting boxes you really need to be doing that now.
This is also a good time to be putting up extra feeders to help the birds through this busy time. If you are new to bird feeding you can read lots of tips on spring bird feeding by going to the back issues of our spring newsletters.
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The weather people are predicting a dryer than normal time ahead so one of the best things you can be doing for your local birds is providing them with water to drink and bathe in. Even now if you look around your neighbourhood you will probably be surprised just how little water is available for the birds. Most of our roads, gutters and paths have been really well constructed to drain away water as soon as it falls.
Bird baths don't need to be expensive, just visit your local op shop and find a suitable dish and with the help of your imagination you can create a garden master piece. We saw a really attractive bird bath recently made from the lid of a plastic rubbish bin, three tree branches and a piece of string.




New Product


Our Wild Bird Feed Stations are ideal for any garden but are particularly suitably for small areas where space is at a premium.
The station can be easily screwed onto veranda poles, fences, or sides of buildings to bring your local bird life up close to your house.
With fruit or bread in the tray, seed and suet in the hanging feeders most of the local birds found in New Zealand gardens will be catered for.

You can start by buying the Basic Feed Station Tray on its own. This allows you to start feeding seed, bread or other treats to the birds and you can easily add on the other tube feeders, suet feeders etc as you become more interested in backyard bird feeding

These Feed Stations make an ideal gift for anyone.

more information >>>>

















Tips attracting birds to   your feeders

We are finding more and more of our customers are starting to feed wild birds for the first time, which is great.
A common question we are asked by these "newbie's" is "how do I get the birds to come to my feeder? There are lots of birds flying around but they just wont visit my feeders"

The most important thing that you have to realize is that your feeders don't look anything like what a wild bird would associate with food.
Although bird seed looks the same in your feeder as it does in the wild, the birds are used to seeing that seed on a seed head of grass not in a plastic or wooden container.
Before you can lure them to your feeders you have to teach the local birds to associate them with food. The easiest way to do this is to attach food that they will recognize to the feeders.
Start by putting some bread out on the ground. All birds seem to recognize bread as food and it is highly visual to the passing birds. Once the local birds are eating your bread attach some to your feeder, along with slices of fruit. It wont be long before they catch on that the seed or suet in the feeder is food and then you will have trouble keeping up with their appetites.

A mistake that many people make is putting the feeders in a position where the birds don't feel comfortable. This is often close to the house or in an area that humans often visit.
Initially it is a good idea to put your feeders in the quietest part of the garden and stay away from them as much as possible.
Once the birds are happy using the feeders you can move them, in steps, to a place in the garden where you can see them from your house or deck.

Most wild birds are timid, especially in urban environments where there are a lot of threats to them in the form of humans, cats, dogs etc. It is a big thing for them to fly down from a nice, safe tree or roof and land on a feeder perch.
While the birds are getting used to the feeders it is a good idea to attach some extra perches to the them so the birds can land a little distance away , check it out, and then move closer as they feel safe. Perches up to 500mm long are ideal.
This trick works particularly well with roofed feeders where the birds cant see if it is safe to visit from above.



Photo by Pippa Coard - Kete Horowhenua

Tagasaste the perfect Kereru and Tui tree

The Tagasaste (Tree Lucern) is an ideal fast growing small tree to plant in your garden to attract the birds. It has nectar in early spring for the bees and Tuis, while the Kereru love eating the leaves and flowers.
It flowers for a long time, starting in spring when nectar is in short supply. This not only attracts the Tuis, Bellbirds and White Eyes but also a lot of insects which in turn will bring the insect eating birds to your garden.

Tagasaste can be grown as a stand alone specimen tree growing to a height of 3 - 4 metres and a width of 3 metres. They can also be used to create an attractive quick growing hedge.


Solving Your Ant Problems

One of the real problems with Tui Feeders is that they attract ants. Many people have emailed us asking how they can stop this problem and apart from suggesting commercial ant poison or spray we really didn't have the answer.

One of our customers sent us this simple idea. We have tested it out and it works fantastically well.
Just take a plastic bowl that will fit into the Tui Feeder and allow the ceramic bowl to sit inside it without touching the sides. (We found ours in our supermarket delicatessen)
Fill the plastic bowl with water and it becomes a moat that stops the ants reaching the syrup.
We were amazed at how quickly the ants gave up and went to search elsewhere for their food. The day after we installed our plastic bowl there wasn't an ant to be seen around the feeder.

Kaka Cam

Hi Keith
I thought you might like to see this nest of kaka chicks at Zealandia that has a camera set up so we can watch the chicks growing anytime we want.
 Occasionally you'll see mum arrive and feed the chicks.  Really amazing, pathway below
Kind regards


Photo by JJ Harrison

Kookaburras in NZ
Not many people realise that we have Kookaburras in New Zealand. We certainly didn't until we saw one perched on a power line recently.

Originally from Eastern Australia they were released on
Kawau Island  by Sir George Grey, and also in Wellington, Nelson, and Otago between the 1860 and 1880. Only the Kawau population has survived and has spread onto the nearby mainland. They can now be found on Kawau Island, and the adjacent mainland east coast from the Whangarei district south to Kaukapakapa and Riverhead, and the southern Waitakere Ranges.
Although their numbers are low (estimated to be stable at 500) they appear to be growing in Whangarei and the surrounding areas with many sightings being reported in the last few months.

Kookaburras are the largest of the kingfisher family. They have the same big heads, long bills, and relatively small bodies and tails that are typical of the common NZ Sacred Kingfishers but weigh about five times as much and are nearly twice as long. The under body is pale while the wings and back are dark brown, with some wing feathers having pale blue tips.
Even if you have never heard a Kookaburras call you will recognize it instantly. It is an unmistakable loud cackle, usually heard at dawn and dusk with several birds calling at the same time.

Kookaburras are strongly territorial and normally live in family groups roosting together at night in a tall tree. They mate for life and have strong family bonds with family members helping with the  incubation, brooding, and feeding of young.

In New Zealand the Kookaburras diet consists of  earthworms, snails, insects, freshwater crayfish, frogs, lizards, rats, mice, and small birds.
Like the Kingfishers the Kookaburra catches its food by perching in a high place (like a power line) for long periods and swooping down when some is spotted

Kingfisher waiting for his food
Photo by Robert Webb - Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre


Photo of the Month

All sorts of Wild Birds will visit once they know food is around

Once you have Birds visiting you will find other ways to attract them to hang around.

Photos by Robert Webb - Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre

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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