New announcement. Learn more

Attract native birds

NZ Tui bird sits on a flax flower

What can you do to bring more native birds into your garden?

When you moved to the Waitākere Ranges, you probably dreamed of a garden where you could watch native birds like the tūī, pīwakawaka (fantail) and kererū in action.

But if you don’t have enough food sources in your garden, it may not be filled with birdsong. Luckily, there are a few easy ways you can make your garden more welcoming for native birds.

How can I attract native birds to my garden?

The best way to bring more native birds into your garden is to plant native trees and create a safe environment for them.

There are many flowering and fruiting native plants that attract native birds, but some of the best options are:

Harakeke (flax) – flax is very easy to grow and tūī love the nectar it produces

Kōwhai – the beautiful yellow kōwhai flowers are a magnet for kererū and stitchbirds

Tī kōuka (cabbage tree) – this iconic tree’s berries and flowers are loved by bellbird and tūī

Pūriri – provides a year-round supply of fruit, seeds and nectar (excellent in winter)

Karaka – a favourite of kererū, its berries ripen in summer when fruit supplies are limited

Porokaiwhiri (pigeonwood) – its orange berries are adored by kererū

Are bird feeders helpful?

Planting native trees is a better option than using artificial bird feeders, as plants provide a natural food source that birds can continually come back to, so you won’t have to keep topping up the food like you do with a feeder.

In saying this, nectar feeders (which you fill with sugar water) can be a useful way to supplement native plants in winter, when birds tend to have less food available. Bird feeders that you fill with seeds or fruit should be avoided, as these will attract non-native birds like sparrows.

Is there anything else I can do to create a bird-friendly garden?

It’s important to make sure native birds are safe in your garden. Here are a few ideas:

• Keep your cat indoors overnight, as this is when birds are most vulnerable

• Keep pest animals under control (as they prey on birds)

• Install anti-bird strike stickers on your windows to prevent birds from flying into the glass

Image credits: Tui & Kowhai by Stefan Marks via Flickr