There are lots of things you can do to encourage birds and animals to live happily in our villages. Here are a few ideas:
Volunteer for a community group
Community groups work hard to make our villages a great home not just for us but for our plants and animals. Here are some of our favourites, get in touch and see if you can help.
- Pyrmont Ultimo Landcare are a group of volunteers who help restore bushland in the city by planting locally-indigenous plants to encourage indigenous birds, lizards and other species back into our villages
- Rozelle Bay Community Native Nursery The Rozelle Bay Community Native Nursery is a volunteer community group reintroducing local plant species to the City of Sydney and Leichhardt areas. You can help in nursery projects such as collecting and propagating seeds, nurturing seedlings, weeding and planting. New volunteers are always welcome.
Help us to improve habitat
Sounds simple doesn’t it? Keep in mind we all have to share the parks in the city as one big backyard. To keep our green spaces beautiful the City organises special planting sites each year as part of National Tree Day. Everyone’s welcome to come along on the day to plant locally indigenous trees, shrubs and grasses in a selection of our great, green parks.
Create habitat in your backyard
You can encourage indigenous species by creating habitat in your backyard, your balcony or even on your roof or walls! Even small areas can be important – they can act as ‘stepping stones’ between larger habitat areas. We have free workshops on this very topic.
If you want to get crackin’ here are some of our top tips:
- Plant dense locally indigenous shrubs and grasses. The provide food and shelter for little birds like the adorable Superb Fairy-wren and the striking New Holland Honeyeater.
- Avoid planting large-flowering varieties (such as hybrid Grevilleas) as these encourage larger, aggressive birds such as the Noisy Miner that bully the smaller, less common birds.
- Bring on the water works! Birds love baths and frogs love ponds. Locally indigenous frog species such as the Striped Marsh Frog and the Common Eastern Froglet are regular visitors to water worlds in the city. Peron’s Tree Frog and the tiny but beautiful Dwarf Eastern Tree Frog are also about – you may attract them too if you’re lucky!
- Lizards go crazy for rockeries and rock retaining walls. Just ask the Eastern Blue-tongue Lizard, Bar-sided Skink, and Wall Skink. Lizards also love logs, rock piles, or even bricks or roofing tiles placed amongst thick vegetation on the ground.
- Avoid use of herbicides and pesticides such as snail baits – try chemical-free gardening instead. Herbicides and pesticides often have flow-on effects up the food chain – for example, Eastern Blue-tongue Lizards can die if they eat a snail that has taken bait. Snails are an Eastern Blue-tongue’s favourite food, so if you have them in your backyard you shouldn’t need baits anyway!
- Don’t feed birds, possums or other animals as this encourages the common and most aggressive species often at the expense of others. Besides, animals can find their own food, especially if backyards and balconies have loads of lovely indigenous plants!
Keen to learn more?
Here are some of our favourite sites to learn more about birds, animals and our great green surrounds in Sydney.
Birds in Backyards Find out more about Australian birds and their habitats, and learn how to create bird-friendly spaces in your garden and local community.
Backyard Buddies This website is for everyone who enjoys their backyard animals, wants to learn more about them, find out how to attract them and how to live with them.
Australian Association of Bush Regenerators This association encourages best practice in bushland management and bush regeneration.
Discourage pests like the Common Myna and Noisy Miner
The Common Myna (also known as the Indian Myna) is an introduced bird species that is considered a pest in Australia. However, despite most people’s perceptions, there is no evidence they’re having any impact on biodiversity in Sydney. Research has shown that it is actually the native Noisy Miner, an aggressive and territorial species, that is negatively impacting on small bird populations.
Indian Mynas commonly pick off seedlings in vegetable gardens, they sometimes raid fruit trees, and they often eat pet food. They also like to nest in roofs, under eaves, in gaps in buildings and in air-conditioning systems, and can cause considerable damage to property. They often roost in trees in large numbers at night, where they can be very noisy.
To discourage both species from your neighbourhood, try the following:
- Plant more locally-native shrubs and grasses and reduce your lawn area if you can.
- Don’t feed birds – they don’t need extra food
- Feed pets inside if possible and if it isn’t, don’t leave your pet’s unwanted food where birds can get it – these birds will eat almost anything and pet food is a favourite.
- Place netting over your vegetable garden.
- Block off holes in roofs and eaves to stop birds nesting there and, hopefully, break the nesting cycle.
- Keep palms and other non-native trees trimmed and remove dead fronds.