Australia’s small native birds are in trouble. Honeyeaters, wrens, finches and thrushes to name a few have disappeared from many areas. The loss of essential habitat namely shrub understoreys have suited large aggressive birds, usually Noisy Miners and Currawongs, to the detriment of smaller birds. Noisy Miners now dominate many parks and other public open spaces because there is an abundance trees but virtually no understorey.
We were faced with a similar situation when we purchased our property, Yallaroo, west of Armidale in northern NSW. The property had been a sheep grazing property with mature eucalypts, an abundance of large birds (but fortunately no Noisy Miners), no understorey and consequently no small birds.
Over the years, we have rectified the situation by creating a garden that has become a haven for small native birds. We have planted dense shrubberies composed of a wide range of native plants planted very close together (see our Density and Diversity article).
Our bird list now runs to 90 different birds. At any given time there will be four or five different species observed within 20 metres of our house. Eastern Spinebills, Blue Wrens, Scrub Wrens and Red-browed Finches are some of our permanent residents. Willy Wagtails and Thrushes return annually to nest under the roof of our patio whilst swallows build their mud nests on our front verandah.
Illustrated is a Yellow-faced Honeyeater. These birds are regular “nesters” in our garden.