Feed the birds naturally


Plants to attract birds

Your home garden can help to provide shelter, food and nesting places for birds. You don’t have to try to recreate a forest – any garden can be made more attractive to wildlife, even if it’s only a few square metres in size.

Here are some simple ideas:

  • Grow native or non-native trees and shrubs that provide nectar, seeds or berries.

  • Know your birds

  • Find out what the different birds need

  • Select the plants you grow so that food is available all year.

  • Provide diverse habitats by grouping plants in mixed communities.

  • Grow together plants which vary in height.

  • A thick layer of humus will attract insects for birds to feed on.

  • Creating a “wild” area that is seldom disturbed will provide nesting sites.

  • Keep an area of your garden well watered, especially during dry spells. It will attract a wide range of insects which birds can eat.

If a number of us do this, we would create a network of natural feeding areas for the birds throughout our cities and suburbs.

For native planting suggestions, visit:

Department of Conservation

Forest and Bird

Add protected sections within your garden:

  • Create tunnels that cats and dogs cannot get into.

  • Have a rockery that has gaps and hiding places, small enough and deep enough that birds can escape from predators.

  • Place trellis in front of a wooden fence – fasten it at an angle and ensure that the ends are closed off. The birds can run in through the gaps and hide in the shrubs.

  • If you have a tree that birds like to nest in, trim the lower branches so it makes it a little more difficult to climb,  wrap and fasten a piece of galvanised metal sheeting around the trunk, high enough that it cannot be jumped over and wide enough that predators cannot stretch over it.  The idea is they will not be able to grip on anything to pull themselves up the tree.  Works well for rats, stoats and possums.

  • Create a brush pile made with leaves, twigs, branches and even old Christmas trees.

  • If you plan to have a bird bath place it in an open area (this is so birds can see what is approaching) or in a 'protected' area.  Remember to clean it regularly!