by Paul Fraser and Ken Cross
We are blessed in the hinterland to be able to see so many beautiful bird species in their natural habitat. We have over 200 species residing in a range of habitats including sub-tropical rainforest, open eucalypt forest, grassland and wetlands.
Whilst some of the more common species, for example, Butcherbirds, Magpie Lark and Willie Wagtail can be seen almost anywhere, other species are much more particular about where they live. Visiting different habitats will hopefully result in seeing some genuinely unique bird species.
Some great places for seeing some special birds include Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Mapleton National Park, Booloumba Creek for rainforest species. Wetland species can be found at Maleny Precinct Wetlands and Mapleton Ponds. Farmland, open forest and grassland is good for bush and grassland birds.
If you do not want to travel to the birds, you can encourage them to come to you! One of the best ways to see birds is to attract them to your property. Depending on circumstances, the best way to achieve this is by a combination of appropriate native vegetation and bird baths.
Some suggested do’s and don’ts;
– Do plant native plants. Be careful to select a range of plants that produce both nectar and fruit. Too many nectar producing flowers may have the unintended consequence of attracting only Honeyeaters (especially Noisy Miners) to the detriment of other seed, fruit or insect eating birds.
– Do plant a range of plant species such that there are layers for birds. For example ground covers, shrubs and trees. Different species have different micro habitat preference. Your local native nursery can advise on appropriate plant species.
– Do provide at least one bird bath, but more would be better. Birds, and especially the smaller shy species will be reluctant to come to a bath that has been placed out in the open. Try to find a place near a shrub or garden that will provide some cover, and an escape route for them.
– Don’t use pesticides, rodenticides. Secondary poisoning is a serious threat, not only directly, but also by altering the natural balance between the top predators and other species.
– Don’t maintain large areas of manicured lawn. Plant a range of native trees, shrubs and grasses, create connectivity with adjoining vegetation if possible.
– Don’t feed the large meat eaters. Butcherbirds (including Australian magpies), Currawongs and crows will not only eat the food that you give them, they prey on small birds and nestlings, and may, in time, dominate your area.Our beautiful birds are the envy of the birding world, let’s respect and care for them.