Conservation Week runs from 15 – 23 September. This week, help New Zealand’s biodiversity by completing a conservation activity at home. These actions don’t just make your garden look good they also help protect our native species from predators, provide sources of food for native birds and reduce harm to wildlife and plants beyond your own backyard.
• Find out how ‘green’ your backyard is. A thriving backyard ecosystem doesn’t just mean native birds! Fantails rely solely on insects for food, and korimako/bellbirds and tūī will also supplement their diet with bugs. The more insects in your garden, the more food for our natives.
• Set a backyard trap. Rats are a major predator of our native species, eating eggs and chicks as well as fully grown birds and lizards, while mice compete with our native animals for food, leaving them to go hungry. Build your own trapping tunnel or buy a trap from Predator Free NZ and help protect our native birds from your own backyard.
• Rid your garden of weeds and pest plants. Our staff are experts in weed removal and not just because we love a bit of gardening. Seeds from weeds and pest plants can be delivered on the wind or by birds from your garden to nearby forests and even islands. Once spread, weeds can prevent native plants from growing. In more remote places they can also harm our seabirds if they become tangled in vines or tree branches.
• Plant native trees and flowers. Native plants are a great source of food for native birds. Find out which nectar, fruit or seed producing plants are right for attracting kereru, fantails and tūī to your garden.
• Look after our lizards. Lizards can thrive in suburban gardens and rural properties if you meet their needs for food and shelter. Use old concrete, bricks and stones and stack them loosely so there are plenty of cracks and holes. Spiders, slaters and beetles will head inside, especially when it’s cold which is good news for the lizards that feed on them. Native birds such as ruru/morepork and kingfisher will also feed off lizards.
• Make your cat conservation friendly. If you own a cat fitting them with a bell is a must. Be a responsible cat owner by getting your cat desexed, keeping them inside for an hour either side of sunrise and sunset (birds are most active during this time) and putting your cat in a cattery when you are on holiday.
• Reduce plastic. Reducing your use of single use plastic is a great way to help our seabirds and marine life. Plastic can end up in our water ways and eventually be taken out to sea. Once in the ocean it’s easy for birds to confuse plastic for food as the algae which grows on plastic releases dimethyl sulphide, a chemical also given off by plankton during a feeding frenzy. Reducing your use of plastic reduces the amount of harm done to our marine species.
Do you have, or could youmake a list of ongoing flowering native plants for our native birds through winter, to spring, summer and autumn.