Tuesday, December 15, 2015

How to Attract Birds into Your Garden

My new bird bath was delivered this morning along with 12 bales of pea straw to use as mulch for the front garden. Coen questioned why I needed another bird bath? I suppose for a teenager with no interest in the garden it was a reasonable question. Once again we are facing drought conditions here on the edge of the Wimmera. With no rain in urban areas there is no water for birds to access easily apart from the lake and wetland areas in the town and nearby dams are the only other source. As you can see from the photo I took on Sunday, water is not the only attraction. I never net my apricots as the trees are too large, so we have to be content with sharing the crop. Apples are a different matter.
I grow six different varieties of apples and if I don't net the trees, the birds ruin them while they are young and green like these. The Rainbow Lorikeets come annually, the week between Christmas and New Year. I have gardened here for over 35 years...I was only 20 when I started!  Rainbow Lorikeets are not endemic to this region. Years ago if you heard one in the garden, you would rush out to admire how pretty they are. Now the sound only means that they are out there 'eating'. I don't like having to net the apples as they do not ripen until March here and to me that is a long time to have nets on trees. My reasons are that unless you secure them well birds will actually become trapped in the nets. Once they realize that they are trapped they panic and become more wound up in the net. Last year I had to cut a  Rainbow Lorikeet out of one of the nets as it tried like mad to bite me! I also had to cut my neighbors cat out of the net as it was trying to take on a Wattle Bird. By the time the apples are ripe and we have had enough, I take the net off and leave fruit for the birds.
As you can see by the purple droppings on the branch, we shared the Mulberries with them. But there are also plums, pears, nectarines, peaches, crab apples, nashi pears persimmons and grapes that I will have to fend them off from. As for the two almond trees, they are almost bare already as the Crimson Rosella's have beaten the Yellow Tail Black Cockatoo's to them. But I am looking forward to seeing what other birds my new bird bath attracts. It is deep enough for the Magpies who turn up when I put the lawn sprinklers on the take a nice cool bath.     

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