Native plantings and bringing the birds back

Auckland is NZ’s largest metropolitan centre and is still growing fast. It is definitely an urban place, and yet native plants and animals do still exist in the city, in parks and reserves, along creeks and coastal strips.

Your garden can also be part of this natural network. If we want to help bring birds back into the city in any abundance, they must have ‘corridors’ along which they can travel from one place to another. You can make your garden part of this network of wildlinks.

We can provide members with information about the native plants that live or lived in Auckland – they are our ‘natural natives’. By planting them in your garden you can help maintain Auckland’s distinctive ecological character and biodiversity, strengthen the native communities that still exist in the city, and provide food and shelter for native birds and other wildlife.

It is hoped that people will choose plants to put in their home gardens in order that they re-create something of the original plant communities which adorned this isthmus in earlier times, and which are therefore more likely to survive. Doing this will also provide habitat for native birds and other animals that lived here in times past.

Don’t feel that to attract wildlife and give them somewhere to eat and rest and breed that you have to plant an entire forest in your own garden.  If you feel more comfortable with planting some introduced plant species rather than all natives, there are introduced plant species which also attract birds (for example, tuis just love flame trees), but we recommend a mix of introduced plants and native ones.

If you only plant a few bird-attracting plants, and your neighbour has another few, and their neighbour some more, then collectively this creates a network of plants which birds can travel from one area to another and get food.  If your garden replicates in part a local reserve, then this contributes to the expansion of that habitat and of places where birds will spread to.  We just have to look how birds (banded for identification)  re-introduced into restored areas like  Ark in the Park in the Waitakeres or Karori Sanctuary in Wellington have spread into neighbouring gardens, or even the spread of bellbirds from Tiritiri Matangi island across to the Whangaparoa Peninsula.

This is the idea behind creating wildlinks throughout the city - corridors of bush that birds can travel along.  This is the fundamental way members of Forest & Bird in Central Auckland can promote the F&B campaign called "Auckland Naturally" and can contribute even from their own homes to helping bring birds back into the city.

Finally, we recommend that you look at the section of this website entitled "Backyard Biodiversity" for more information about attracting birds into your garden, including information about bird-feeding, growing plants from seed, planting out seedlings, and controlling pest weeds especially.