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


        Summer - 2015 - 2016

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 gifts this year but fortunately we learned our lesson over the last three 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. 

One thing we have noticed this year is the amount of feeders being bought by, or for, elderly people. We have had some incredible feedback from their friends and relatives telling us just how much the simple act of feeding the local wild birds has meant to them. The common theme to this feedback is that filling the feeders gives the elderly something to do each day and also television watching has been replaced by sitting at the window or on the deck watching the visitors to their feeders.
During the year we supplied feeders that were installed in rest homes as part of research into elderly activities. This has resulted in other rest homes buying feeders after hearing what a success they had been.

Many of our original customers are also telling us how they have gone from putting up a single feeder to creating a complete habitat for the local birds in their backyards with nesting boxes, bird baths and specially planted bird friendly bushes. This has not only resulted in a noticeable increase in the numbers and types of birds seen in their area but also provided the people with an enjoyable hobby. May of these people have also commented on how many of their neighbors have caught the bird feeding "bug" as a result.
Its nice to know that we are making a difference in many areas.  

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.
We were amused to watch a young, very vocal, Blackbird demanding food from his poor overworked parents who spent about an hour flying back and forth bring food. In the end I think the parents decided on some tough love and flew away at which stage the youngster happily started hopping around the garden feeding himself. I'm sure there is a moral in there somewhere.

The most important thing at this time of year for the birds is water.
 As a society we have become experts at ridding our streets of water almost as fast as it falls. Our roads and footpaths are smooth and well draining with none of the bumps and hollows of yesteryear where water could sit in puddles for days before disappearing. We have also used culverts to take streams and creeks underground as a safety and aesthetic measure.
The result in many of our towns and cities is a complete lack of available water within days of a rainfall. So please put out water for your local birds,  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.

 We hope you all have a great Christmas.

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.
Our Dove Cotes and Platform Feeders are sent via Mainfreight and can take longer to be delivered.
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 on or before Friday 18 December to be delivered before the big day. 


Make an Attractive, Inexpensive Bird Bath from terracotta pots.

  1. Not everyone wants a traditional bird bath in their garden. Many bird baths available in garden centres don't suit New Zealand gardens and are probably more at home in formal garden setting.
    A good looking, low cost alternative can be made using traditional terracotta plant pots. These can be brought relatively cheaply at garden centres or second hand ones are normally available in your local op shops.
    All you need is a tube of "no more nails", some terracotta pots and your imagination.

Simply glue the pots together, allow to dry , fill with water and you have a quick and easy bird bath

This one was built for under $20 using second hand pots from a garage sale and a new basin from Bunnings.

Children can help make and  paint these to create an original gift for parents or grandparents

Your bird bath can be as simple or elaborate as you want.

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.
Many of our customers received one of these as a gift and have been so impressed with them that they are now giving them to friends and family.



Wild Bird Feed Station - These Feed Stations are proving extremely popular as gifts.
Our Basic Feed Station is ideal to start feeding the local birds seed, bread or other treats and the tube feeders, suet feeders etc can be added the interest in bird feeding grows.
They are ideal for people with smaller apartments to put on their decks.


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, or a combined gift from families to their parents.
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


Bottle Brush
The ideal bird tree

Nectar feeding birds such as the Tui, Bellbird or Waxeye are attracted red flowers making the fast growing, prolific flowering Bottle Brush an ideal choice for most backyards. There are many other trees that produce flowers that attract the birds but none of them will grow and flower as fast as a Bottle Brush

Not only do they look good in most gardens but their spectacular flowers are both cheerful and irresistible to nectar-feeding birds, bees and other insects. Bottle brushes will flower throughout spring and summer and even into autumn.

Bottle Brushes make excellent garden plants and they aren’t too fussy about where to put down roots. They are extremely hardy, and very fast growing.  They will tolerate, (actually thrive) in damp conditions and can also manage extremely well in dry conditions providing they are not water-logged or desert dry. Most varieties are frost tolerant. The best flowers are produced when the bottlebrush grows in full sun.

There are many different varieties and  can be grown as a small tree, a garden shrub or a hedge if space is at a premium


Know Your NZ Birds


 Photo by Andreas Trepte

The Yellowhammer can be found in open country throughout much of New Zealand. Their main habitat includes farmland with ditches and hedgerows, pasture with patches of scrub and trees, stubble fields and weed-infested crops. They can also frequently be seen in city gardens and parks outside the breeding season, especially in places where there is newly-sown grass seed.

Yellowhammers are similar in size to the common house sparrow; however their tails are noticeably longer. The male yellowhammer has a bright yellow head, streaked brown back, chestnut rump and yellow under parts
.The female is much browner and more streaked on the head and upper surface.
 Both sexes have white outer tail-feathers, which are conspicuous in flight, and chestnut rumps.

They were originally introduced from Britain between 1865 and 1880 and rapidly grew in numbers, spreading throughout New Zealand. They were soon declared a pest because of their fondness for new sown pasture seeds and a bounty was placed on  their heads and also their eggs.
During the breeding season the birds will remain in pairs but at other times will be part of a mixed flock with other similar sized birds such as sparrows, goldfinch and chaffinch.

The nest is cup shaped, constructed mainly from dry grass and can usually be found on or close to the ground in long grass or thick shrubby vegetation.
The breeding season lasts from October to March during which time most pairs will raise 2 broods of 3 - 5 chicks each. The female incubates the eggs but the feeding, mainly on invertebrates, is done by both parents.

Yellowhammers feed mainly by foraging on the ground. Their diet consists of seeds and invertebrates including grasshoppers, moths, caterpillars, flies, beetles, aphids, bugs, cicadas and spiders.


Question and Answer Section

Q. Can you tell me if it is OK to go away on our Christmas holidays and just stop feeding the birds. We have been feeding a variety of birds for about 9 months now and wonder if they depend on the feed we give them and if they will go hungry if we stop feeding them for 2 weeks.
Regards Lynn T

A. Hi Lynn
Thanks for your enquiry.
In most areas the wild birds only use the feeders to supplement the food that they find in the wild and at this time of year there is normally an abundance of this. So your birds will probably be OK if you leave them for the holidays but if you are worried why not arrange for a neighbour to come and fill up your feeders every few days while you are away.
A good product to use for times like this when you cant fill your feeders so often are the Seed Bells. These bells last a lot longer than a feeder full of seed because the local birds have to peck out each individual seed.

Probably more important than food is the water situation while you are away on a summer holiday. It the hot weather the birds will need water to drink and to stay cool in as well as control their mites. If possible arrange for someone to come and replace the water in your bird baths every 2 or 3 days.


Q. We like feeding all our birds but the numbers of larger birds in our garden seem to be increasing and they are giving the smaller ones a hard time.
Can you suggest any feeders that will specifically feed the smaller birds but cant be used by the larger ones?
Regards James

A. Hi James
Thanks for your enquiry.
Its a common problem in many backyards. The simplest method is to use a feeder which excludes the larger birds. I have enclosed a photo sent by one of our customers which shows how he tackled the problem.
You can see what he says about it in our Autumn 2015 Newsletter




Photo of the Month

Our garden is in the Karori Garden Trail in Wellington this weekend, one of 12
There has been a lot of interest in our tui birdfeeder which attracts tui all day. Many have taken your details so I hope this results in some sales for you
The feeder is great. The birds are a constant interest for us. They can go through two bottles of drink a day.. Regards Alan Shuker

Photos by Lesley Collier Wellington

I thought you might like to see this photo of a kaka that I took at Zealandia today (23 November).  It is eating a pellet and this food source is provided to the kakas via a number of Windsong feeders set-up at Zealandia.


 When I first saw this Keruru chick  about a month ago he was just a little chick in a big nest, now it looks like he has almost outgrown the nest! 

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




NZ Backyard Birds


Tui Feeders

Seed Feeders

Bird Feeders

Nesting Boxes

Contact Us

NZ Backyard Birds
09 4331728
Email -