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Old Oct 28, 2004, 9:38 PM   #1
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I have been trying to attract birdlife to my front yard. Ive been given some recipes for attracting nectar eating birds, (I pack the stuff into pine cones and then hang it out in the trees).

My main hope is to attract some of the wonderful seed eating parrots, I put out seed bells for wild birds and after a month, I spotted two parrots. The problem is that they are pretty flighty and I wonder if there is anything else that will attract them and hold their interest so much that I can get a little closer and get a shot. I dont want to spend a heap of money.

any Ideas welcome:-)
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Old Oct 28, 2004, 10:36 PM   #2
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patience.....

edit..ok, i was just gonna type that...

because thats the most important thing you need to shoot...

but, your question was different, so it didn't fit very well..

lol

Vito
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Old Oct 31, 2004, 10:06 AM   #3
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I can't comment specifically on this, but generally if you want wild life to hang out you need habitat. Usually food, shelter, and water will bring wildlife. Around here for woodpeckers, sapsuckers, and flickers we will sometimes girdle one or two trees in an acre. For hummingbirds we plant things such as Currents or fuschias. Color is almost always more important than scent or taste for birds. Generally space and sun is more of a problem than cost if you have the time to do it yourself. (edit don't forget about water/drainage)
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Old Nov 3, 2004, 2:47 PM   #4
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I'm going to repeat hedwards a touch.

Lucky for you, I worked with someone (supplied pictures) on a talk titled "Gardening for birds" which had a lot of good info.

The most important things to attract birds are: food, shelter, water.

This usually translates into:
food - berry producing bushes/trees/shrubs, supply of bugs.
shelter - bushes, trees with leaves (different kinds, conifer & deciduous), and you want the cover both high and low
water - at least a bird bath, but moving water with pools is also very good. You can build something without much trouble, a pump from a fish tank is powerful enough to keep some water moving (and the motion can cut down on fungal growths. Not perfect, but it helps.)

When you're doing it artificially, you really need to find out what they like. Thisel (grass seed) is popular with some birds, but sunflowers and larger seeds get other things. Then you have bugs and fruit. For bugs, you can leave rotting logs & stumps around (i.e. don't remove that dead tree, cut it to a reasonable safe height and leave it.) This will also supply nesting spaces for woodpeckers and other birds. Believe it or not, the miniscule chickadee (don't know if you have this bird) actually digs out nesting holes.

Shelter can be tricky has some birds have specific needs, while others don't care. You want cover both low and high. Tall trees with leaves are good, but so are shrubs & even vines. The nice thing about shrubs is that they can double as a food source. The trick on them is that many shrubs actually have gender (weird, but true) so if you plan shrubs make sure you get at least 1 of each type of gender or they will not do well (don't remember if they don't survive or if it reduces growth.)

Giving them water can be as simple as a bird bath, or more complex with a recycling pool. Either way, they are very helpful in attracting birds.

I would recommend putting the food near some cover. Give them a place to sit and feel protected. My feeder is right next to a grape arbor which gives great cover… the birds always land there and wait in line to get food.

There is another aspect to what you asked, though. How to get close pictures of them. This is much harder. There are two things you can do to help with this. First is to spend time out side. Just sit in a chair and read a book. Do some gardening. Something. Get the animals used to you. Second, give the birds perches in places where you want them to go. Put them near the food but with a pleasing background and some places where you can be.

I hope that helps. I don't know the plant life in Australia, so I can't recommend any specific plants. But I'm sure you can find someone who could help locally.

Eric
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Old Nov 4, 2004, 6:19 AM   #5
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Thanks eric, some things there for me to think about:-)
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Old Nov 4, 2004, 8:45 AM   #6
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Glad to help. You take good pictures of birds I don't expect to see any time soon.... by helping out I get to see more

Eric
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Old Nov 4, 2004, 6:27 PM   #7
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Eric, do birds go for seed that is low to the ground, about 4 feet off ground on a table under trees with a fence behind to add protection? Or should I have something built higher up?
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Old Nov 4, 2004, 9:29 PM   #8
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A good stock tip on this sort of thing is to go to local environmental organizations and ask about native habitat for birds. Most are more than willing to point out resources on how to attract local animals to the area. Otherwise local plant ID or other books covering such subjects; and parks that have been restored.

I must admit that i am very much partial to this manner of going about things, but the background tends to be better, or more natural:-), than can otherwise be created.
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Old Nov 5, 2004, 7:47 AM   #9
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Another advantage of going to a local organization is that they (hopefully) will know and care about which plants are invasive and which are not. So they will recommend appropriate plants. They also might know which plants which birds like... so they can say "you want to attract X? Then plant some of Y." That specific info is invaluable.

aladyforty
I would think that many birds would go for some food 4" off the ground. That really isn't that far (that is how high my feeder is.) What matters much more is what is around the food (and that is bird dependent.) You want to make sure there is some natural cover around. The trees will help, but depending on what they are, the branches & leaves might be too high up.

It should be said that cover right next to it isn't required. I know a few photographers who put several feeders smack in the middle of their yard. The birds come eventually.. easy food, after all. But you get different things if the cover is near by, and they stay by it too.

Eric
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Old Feb 25, 2005, 4:40 AM   #10
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Ok here goes:

1. Kill the bird.

2. Have it stuffed.

3. Tape it to your favorite ornamental plant.

4.Take pictures!!!!

You'll get some great shots and you don't need a telephoto lens!
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