Aucklanders, Magda Smolira and her daughter Jane, have been busy fulfilling their Conservation Week pledge and turning their backyard into a haven for New Zealand native species. They tell us what they’ve been doing…
We are so pleased to take part in Conservation Week—mainly because we have been doing many things to invite native species into our backyard and it gives us a chance to share our story.
Building bug hotels
When we were getting rid of an overgrown hedge and broken fence we encountered a family of weta.
We presumed that they were not very happy to be evicted and we tried to make it up to them by building two ‘bug hotels’.
We used logs of privet that we had cut down and replaced with pohutukawa, a broken clay pot (that the pohutukawa used to grow in), and some left over paving stones.
We hope the hotels are occupied by insects and reptiles, not mice, but to make sure of it we put some Ka Mate traps in the vicinity of the bug hotels and around our compost bin.
Tracking and trapping rats
Last year, during winter school holidays Jane took part in ‘Eco Warrior Workshop’ (organised by Kaipatiki Project). She made a tracking tunnel and was given the paw print chart.
We were finding rat prints until the day Mr. Rat decided to try a pistachio nut from one of our ka-mate traps!
We were wondering whether Mr. Rat had a family, but we found only snail trails in the tracking tunnel for the rest of the school holidays.
Traps are still in place in case another adventurous rodent visits our backyard.
Attracting the birds
Our neighbours have beautiful kowhai tree and we have some kind of ornamental plum that attracts tui and silvereye when in bloom.
On our last visit to Tiritiri Matangi we bought a nectar feeder that will hopefully give those birds extra support and stop them raiding my fig tree.
A young puriri tree is our Fathers Day gift to our dad. We hope to see wood pigeons feeding on it in the not too distant future.
We haven’t seen any reptiles in our backyard yet. We are hoping to though. We grow organic vegies, made bug hotels and are currently planting plants that will attract insects so we are hoping that geckos and skinks will move in. The concrete tubes from Habitat for Humanity shop (anybody knows what they are for?) should make good hiding places.
Proud to pledge
We are proud and privileged to celebrate Conservation Week. We still have to do the online bird ID course to fulfill our pledge.