Gardening for little birds: Our forest warriors

It’s time to start putting back the flora we’ve taken away and try to bring back little birds to our gardens and grow their numbers in forests. Why?

From little honeyeaters pollinating eucalypts, to tiny fairy-wrens protecting against an overrun of leaf-devouring insects, little birds play a big role in our forests as they help maintain an effective and well-working ecosystem.

Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis) Tamborine Mountain - Guanaba

Silvereye

Creating gardens for little birds

So, how can we ensure little birds have places to go for safety, security, for breeding and to raise their young – away from the bigger birds and other unwelcome threats?

It’s all about Australian native plant layers. Start with an inner circle of bushy, shrubby plants (up to 2.5m tall). Then surround this circle with some spiky plants to keep predators out. Follow this with some lovely native grasses, small shrubs and ground covers for ultimate protection. This combination is especially good for Fairywrens.

Be careful not to use plants that attract large, aggressive Honeyeaters (such as the Noisy Miner), which can push little birds out.

And, of course, maintain the wonderful small bird habitats that already exist in forest habitats.

What kinds of plants help little birds?

White-browed Scrubwren (Sericornis frontalis) Tamborine Mountain - Guanaba

Scrubwren

–  For scrubwrens, thornbills and fairy-wrens: Prickly, dense shrubs – hakea, acacia, sweet bursaria, burgan, leptospermum.

–  For robins, wrens and treecreepers who like insects: acacia, bursaria, correa, hardenbergia, melaleuca.

Find out more: Attracting birds to your garden (PDF): BirdLife Australia

Fight Lantana slowly

Fighting Lantana and other weeds must be done slowly and with the greatest of care, as many local little birds are most likely using the weeds as habitat and may be nesting.

Cleared weeds must then be replaced with plant species native to the area as soon as possible so as not to displace the little birds.

Find out more about managing Lantana: Including great native plant replacements for Lantana.

Some other don’ts that will help little birds

Red-backed fairy-wren (Malurus melanocephalus) Tamborine Mountain - Guanaba

Red-backed fairy-wren

Don’t be too enthusiastic about clearing undergrowth. Mess to you is habitat for little birds.
Don’t be too tidy. Little birds love wild gardens.
Don’t prune lower branches of trees and shrubs – little birds use these branches for protection against predators.
Don’t prune in fairy-wren nesting season (between July and March and September to December).
Don’t use pesticides – poison can build up in the bodies of little insectivores as they eat poisoned insects. (Little birds are great insectivores and control overrun anyway, so put that spray gun away.)

The list is from Landscape & Gardening to Attract Superb Fairy-wrens (PDF): The Glebe Society

The Tamborine Mountain Escarpment Protection Precinct is a wonderful place for little birds, from the Red-backed Fairy-wren to the Eastern Spinebill. They are an essential part of our landscape; one we need to maintain in perpetuity.

Find out about our wonderful bird population:

Noisy Friarbirds
Pheasant Coucals: Whoop Whoop birds
Magical birds of the Escarpment

The Escarpment Protection Precinct

Why bother protecting the Escarpment Protection Precinct?

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