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Thread: Feeding the birds

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Default Feeding the birds

    Bit of a geeky one this, but I love feeding the birds and have loads of different feeders in the garden and see loads of different species. Are people as into bird feeding in NZ, can you buy birdfood easily, inc. things like mealworms etc, and what species do you see?

  2. #2
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    Sep 2004
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    Wellington, NZ - Yay!
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    Sam you're going to love NZ - there are some fabulous bird species that are endemic to NZ such as tui, fantails etc. that you won't see anywhere else in the world.

    As far as I know you can get bird food from the shops (just watch out that the possums don't get it instead though!) but the emhasis I've noticed (I work for conservation org) is that most people attract the birds by planting the right plants since these give them a natural food source & shelter. You can also make your own food/feeders (if you do a search on google.co.nz for bird feeders you'll find a few sites) - quite a few NZ birds take nectar - tui, bellbird etc. (you can either plant nectar bearing plants such as flax, kakabeak, kowhai etc. there are some plants listed in the links below or you can make nectar feeders yourself (or if you have kids this is a fun project for them) - do a search on the web for nectar feeders & you'll find instructions on how to make one).

    Hopefully between these websites you'll find the kind of info you're looking for.

    http://www.wwf.org.nz/earthsaver/stuff/ATTRACTI.PDF

    http://www.bestgardening.com/bgc/hub/ecobirds01.htm

    http://www.palmers.co.nz/index.cfm?componentID=296

    http://www.doc.govt.nz/upload/docume...tive-birds.pdf

    Also the above DoC (Dept of Conservation) link lists what kind of birds you will find in your garden. As far as I'm concerned nothing beats the sound of a tui - we have flax plants around our patio & I love how often we see them & hear them.
    Last edited by sarahw; 8th January 2007 at 02:05 PM.

  3. #3

    Default

    As Sarah says the birds here are lovely.
    We have 2.5 acres in the country and the amount of new birds we see and hear is amazing, just love sitting on the decking and watching and listening to them.
    Just this afternoon we have had a kingfisher sitting on the fence a few times today, ofcourse as soon as I try and take a photo is flies off!
    We also have 2 hawkes around, quail and the pukekohes (probably spelt completely wrong!) are in and out of our field too, it's just great!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Kapiti Coast NZ (formerly US)
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    Hi Sam. great info above, but I'll add that my aunt is sending us a heavy duty tube bird feeder from the states as my Christmas present. I searched everywhere I could think here and found only the plate with the three chains or copper feeders the shop owner said rusted in his yard after two weeks... Also found a few small wooden feeders, but for outrageous prices.

    Sarah's right about people planting the native species that really help out the birds. Feeding birds in that natural way is the best option... That said, I also like to see birds gather at the feeder so I can get a look at them! If you don't want to build your own, and you want a feeder that's really going to last you, you might consider packing one in your container or having one sent to you here. (If you put it in the container brand new, you'll be fine with MAF but may have to pay customs GST - though 12.5% of $40 or so NZD isn't much. If it's sent to you by mail, you shouldn't owe customs anything, because they waive the fee for most things if the bill for GST would be less than $50.)

    Maybe I missed the best place to shop for a feeder though. I'm not in Auckland, and they may have more options there...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Like Sarah says, it's amazing the amount of bird's you'll get if you plant the right things.

    Our rental 1 acre here is mature garden with trees, Totara, Oak, Pine and pear, apple, fig, walnut and citrus fruits etc and bushes like rhodedendrons and camellia, flax and lots of plants I don't know the names of (yet). We've got Tui's, at least 4 hawk's, little wagtail things, plover's (the magpie like one, I think) peacocks/hens and pheasant. There's always something going on outside the windows.

    We'd started to do some cutting back of bushes etc, but stopped because we found around 10 nests, some with eggs and didn't want to frighten them off.

    We've got a couple of clay feeders hanging up but I only put food (minced up bacon fat and rind) out in the mornings as I don't want to encourage other pests in the night. There's always a dish or two of water for a little bird bath, or they use our gutters.

    Reminds me I must get a decent book on NZ birds, so I know what I'm looking at.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Northland
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    We planted some Flax opposite the Kitchen window 5 years ago and at this time of year we get the Tuis feeding on the Nectar.We also have heaps of Swallows at the minute,they swoop under the verandah to catch the midges.The Fantails dart wildly above the compost heap all day long.The Wild Turkeys have two poults at the moment,they come to drink from one of the water troughs in the paddock,there were four but the Hawks are constantly on the hunt and have probably taken the other two.We regularly see Pheasants,Cali Quails,Black and White Swans and Ducks on the Dam opposite.Last year we heard a screeching sound coming from the back of the house in the bushes,it was a noise like we'd never heard before.When we went to investigate we saw some kind of seabird lying absolutely exhausted under a shrub.Turned out it was a Shearwater(muttonbird)it was gone the next day.I saw 9 peacocks roosting on a fence the other day.Kingfishers are common up here.There are lots of Herons and Cormorants which you can see chasing and catching mullet in the Hoteo River.Last year we were swimming at the beach in late summer and had a fantastic experience.Hundreds of gulls arrived chasing a massive shoal of fish across the bay,the fish were sort of herded towards the shore right amongs us and the birds were diving into the water all around us catching the fish,it was truly memorable.We get two pairs of Kerorou that come every year in the Spring to feast on the tender Willow shoots.I'm sure I've forgotten lots of others but that'll give you an idea.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Cambridge, Waikato
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    Wow - I'm totally excited about coming all over again - who needs Bisto anyway!!!! yippee I can't wait to see all those birds. Thanks for all the information everyone - you're a complete mine of information. I'm busy scrubbing out and sterilising all my expensive bird feeders to pack now, and will plant all the plants that birds love too. just remembered why I'm emigrating. feel v happy.
    Sam

  8. #8
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    Sep 2006
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    Nelson Bays
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    Hey Sam, it's not a geeky question and thanks for asking it. OH and myself have been talking recently about what we'd miss in the UK and (apart from family) UK wildlife/birdlife is one of the main things we think we'd miss - we are nature mad. Although there are lots of 'British' creatures we'd miss it will be great to start to see all the NZ birds etc and begin to recognize the different calls. Just wish they had a few badgers etc over there....

  9. #9
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    Cambridge, Waikato
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    Yeah, I know what you mean, zorbster, I wish there were more native mammals that just 2 species of bat!! But think of all the whales and other marine life too, hopefully that will compensate. I think I will miss the sound of an English dawn chorus, especially with wood pigeons, I love that sound...

  10. #10
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    Jun 2005
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    Sam

    You can listen to NZ bird sounds here. http://www.kiwi-wildlife.co.nz/sound_gallery.php

    I missed the bird song when we lived in Wellington, heard it but there seemed to be nothing like the dawn chorus. Out here in the sticks, it is lovely and noisy in the morning. If only I could get the peacocks to shut up screeching though.

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