One of the easiest, and healthiest, ways you can attract wild birds to your backyard is by providing a clean supply of water each day. Birds often prefer water that is elevated, such as that in birdbaths, with a tree or a fence nearby so that they are able to escape from predators if necessary.
A juvenile grey butcherbird with clean water from a bird bath running down its beak
While feeding wild birds processed foods such as bread is hazardous for their health, providing native plants is certain to attract a wide variety of wild birds. Flowering trees attract wild birds and provide safe, elevated places for them to rest.
Grevilleas are a popular flowering plant, especially amongst honeyeaters. Banksias are an especially good choice for attracting birds since they have an abundance of nectar and attract insects. Insects attract birds such as fairy-wrens, as well as lizards that in turn will attract larger birds such as laughing kookaburras.
A wild laughing kookaburra with a delicious insect for breakfast
Installing shelters such as nest boxes, or allowing trees with natural hollows to remain, is another great way to attract birds to your backyard. Many Australian birds require safe hollows for nesting, however, unlike birds such as woodpeckers on other continents Australian birds don't create their own hollows.
When supplying water in birdbaths, and if you decide to feed birds foods such as seeds or fruits, it is essential that platforms and containers be kept scrupulously clean. Beak and feather disease is a devastating disease that affects sulphur-crested cockatoos especially, although other birds can be infected as well. If you spot a bird with beak and feather disease it is best to call your local wildlife rescue service to prevent the disease from spreading to other birds in the area.
A pale headed rosella showing early signs of beak and feather disease
Lastly, one of the best ways to help our native birds flourish is to keep cats indoors. As much as we all love our cats, a study undertaken through Charles Darwin University, the Australian National University, and Deakin University in 2017 estimated that cats kill more than 1 million birds in Australia every day. Although many of the cats responsible were feral rather than pets, keeping pet cats indoors and having a bell on their collar is especially important when actively attracting birds to your backyard.
A wild sulphur crested cockatoo overseeing backyard activities
By following these guidelines, and keeping your backyard as natural as possible, bird lovers greatly increase their chances to enjoy watching the natural behaviour of birds right in their backyards every day.
A pale headed rosella enjoying seeds from an unmown lawn