darn it ...
"Native birds don't use nest boxes. Introduced birds may use boxes."- quoted from: http://bestgardening.com/bgc/hub/ecobirds02.htm
...but it also talks about which plant species to grow at home to allow fantails and other birds safe plants to nest in - obviously they need to provide cover from the dreaded neighbourhood cats.
actually, the work i did thinning the trees on my property over the holidays seems to have actually encouraged more birds in. they are better able to fly between previously densely crowded spaces and are sheltering and feeding in the grapefruit tree directly outszide our lounge window. it's great - i see waxeyes, fantails, blackbirds, thrushes, and some mysterious new visitor - some kind of finch. that's the new visitor. i cut open grapefruit for the waxeyes. of course, i feed them in safe places, up trees, where cats can't get them while they're distracted.
the waxeyes also peck the plants outside my office window for insects. i can see them at close range without them seeing me. it's great - by encouraging them in they are working for me, removing insect pests like aphids, scale insects, etc.
other benefits of thinning my trees out is that the ones left are growing better. and once in amongst them, i discovered all sorts of things about the trees - they are all natives - pittosporums, rewarewa, kauri, kahikatea, lancewood, and various trees ferns. what surprised me was founding flowers in the plain looking pittos, and red bottle brushes in the rewarewa. there are also amazing red berries with a shiny, black, protruding seed in the tikoki. such things i'd never noticed before.
now i'm trying to encourage ferns in the undergrowth beneath the tree ferns and other tree canopy.
i went for a bike ride today and got very excited when i visited my favourite part of thheye hamilton gardens - the sustainable backyard. its so cool. i snuck into the wormery and got a couple of composting worms for the two chooks. they got very excited and now i want some at home. oh, and a cow trough pond with a solar powered pump... and a trained aplle tree to run along my fence. ... and some wild flowers... and a farm!
hey - maybe we could make a sustainable backyard at school in the biotech gardens...