So what do your local birds need?
You’ll be noticing a lot more action in the garden with the arrival of warmer weather and new growth. Springtime certainly creates a more welcoming environment for our feathered friends.
It’s this time of year when birds really knuckle down to work. Breeding, nest-building and feeding young chicks takes a lot of extra energy though so a little help from us goes a long way to helping New Zealand birds will thrive during the chaotic weather patterns of spring.
What to do
Post-winter food may still be scarce for some birds. So be sure to top feeders up regularly with Wild Bird Seed Mix. Supplement this with energy food, particularly if you live in a spot prone to spring frosts, as these essential fats will help boost them up.
Hand out the mealworms. Insect-eating birds love these in spring, the beetle larvae being an excellent source of protein for growing birds. If you haven’t got one already a nectar feeder will attract key species to your backyard.
Spring is also a good time for long term planning with your planting. Check out DoC’s tips to check which flora will suit your local fauna.
Last but not least, make sure there’s a steady supply of fresh water and that any feeding area is cleaned regularly. This helps prevent the spread of any disease.
What not to do
Avoid leaving out mouldy or stale food, cooked porridge or salty food – this type of ‘traditional’ bird feed does more harm than good.
Remember about the bread bad habits too. Yes, it’s ok as a treat. But bread is also high in carbohydrates and salt (and low in vitamins and nutritional value). Balance any bread left out with good quality seed, fruit and vegetable fats.
Who to look for
Insect eaters like the piwakawaka and the Welcome swallow will be attracted to mealworm offerings. Once they’ve found it, the local tūi and korimako (bellbird) will be all over your nectar feeder. The vegetable-fat, seeds (and energy cakes, pellets and logs) will lure in the silvereyes, finches and other smaller birds.
And bear with the blackbirds… they can be a nuisance but will save your lettuces from slugs and snails in the long run!