YARD FRIENDS: Blue-faced Honeyeater or Bananabird, a colourful bird found in Australia.
YARD FRIENDS: Blue-faced Honeyeater or Bananabird, a colourful bird found in Australia. thomasmales

Top tips for living with honeyeaters in your back yard

IT'S TIME to feed our native birds-but not with bread, seeds or birdfeeders.

Let your garden do the feeding in Hervey Bay right now.

Winter is a tough time for Aussie animals like honeyeaters, which rely on flower nectar for food, because flowers are a lot harder to come by for these buddies.

Backyard Buddies is a free program run by Australia's Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife. Each month, you get a Backyard Buddies email (B-mail) with tips to make your backyard inviting and safe for native animals. Honeyeaters featured in the June B-mail.

You can sign up for B-mail and download a free factsheet about honeyeaters at www.backyardbuddies. net.au

Honeyeaters are a part of life here in Australia.

They brighten up our days with their impressive colours, calls and personalities.

Look out for Brown Honeyeaters, Blue-faced Honeyeaters, and Noisy Friarbirds in Hervey Bay this month as they move closer into town to find more food.

Honeyeaters are most active in the early mornings when the flowers are full of nectar.

These birds crave a sugary breakfast to kick-start the day, just like many of us do.

Most Aussie honeyeaters help your plants reproduce, by carrying pollen from flower to flower as they look for nectar.

Another benefit is that they'll also eat plenty of insects they find in your garden and keep your bug numbers down.

Tips for living with honeyeaters:

 

  • Feeding sugared water and other sweet drinks to birds is a big no-no as the highly processed sugar is as bad for the birds as it is for us.
  • Birdbaths can be a lifesaver for birds, especially during dry periods, so install one in a nice protected spot in your garden. Clean it regularly and keep it filled with fresh water.
  • Rather than just planting lots of big, showy native flowers like banksias and large grevillias, try planting flowers with small flowers like kangaroo paw and spider grevillia to help out the smaller, more timid honeyeaters.

 

IAN DARBYSHIRE,

CEO, the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife