Variety is the key. Birds use different plants for different reasons. Plants that have dense or prickly foliage, such as hakea, banksia and leptospermum, provide valuable shelter and protection, particularly for small birds, such as wrens and pardalotes. Grevilleas are rich in nectar and are excellent for attracting honeyeaters – and there are so many to choose from including trees, shrubs and groundcovers. Wattles provide shelter, and are a good source of seed and insects. Add to your list correa, baeckea, melaleuca, callistemon and grasses such as kangaroo and tussock grass.
One big question that remains is whether it is okay to feed birds with seed or meat. It’s frowned upon by conservation groups, yet lots of people do it. In the January issue, wildlife expert Leonard Cronin weighs up the pros and cons of feeding, and suggests some simple guidelines to follow.