Planting to attract birds and other wildlife

Planting to attract birds and other wildlife

We all like to see and hear native birds in our garden. The Tui’ with it’s comical antics and song, the Wood Pigeon surveying the area from its stately perch or swaying on the tips of the highest branch of its tree, or the busy Fantail dancing from branch to branch in search of sustenance.
Planting to provide food, shelter, and nesting places can do much to help them and others survive and encourage them to visit more often.

Why not try one or more of the following:

  • Grow native trees and shrubs that provide nectar, seeds or berries
  • Select the native plants you grow so that food is available all year
  • Provide diverse habitats by grouping plants in mixed communities
  • Grow together plants which vary in height
  • A “wild” area that is seldom disturbed will provide nesting sites in larger gardens
  • It is also worth noting that a thick layer of humus will attract insects for birds to feed on

Don’t be put off by the size of your garden, even a few square metres can be made more attractive to birds by careful planting.  Try to use local trees.

Trees attractive to birds and other wildlife which occur naturally in Kapiti-Mana area include:

  • Climbing Rata - Metrosideros fulgens: Nectar winter Climber scarlet/orange flowers in winter
  • Harakeke/Flax - Phormium tenax: Nectar Nov-Jan 3m vigorous plant forming large clumps long strap leaves
  • Hinua - Eleocarpus dentata: Fruit late summer-early autumn 15m round-headed tree clusters of white flowers in spring
  • Horoeka/Lancewood - Pseudopanax crassifolius: Fruit extended season 15m slender juvenile form round-headed adult tree
  • Houhere/Lacebark - Hoheria populnea: Nectar late summer 12m fast-growing tree white flowers late summer, fruits mid autumn-mid winter.
  • Houpara - Pseudopanax lesonii: Fruit extended season 6m hardy shrub/small tree many hybrid garden forms available
  • Kahikatea/White - Dacrycarpus dacrydioides: Pine Fruit autumn 50m tallest and most ancient native tree fine specimen for large gardens especially wet areas sporadic fruiting
  • Kanono - Coprosma grandifolia*: Fruit autumn To 6m open tree large leaves
  • Karaka - Corynocarpus laevigatus: Fruit late summer-early autumn 15m dense tree large glossy leaves orange berries good for pigeons
  • Karamu - Coprosma robusta*: Fruit autumn 3-6m common hardy shrub orange berries 8-9 mm long.
  • Kawakawa - Macropiper excelsum*: Fruit late summer To 6m shrub heart-shaped leaves orange fruit good for pigeons
  • Kohia/NZ Passion Flower - Passiflora tetrandra: Fruit summer-autumn Slender climber fragrant greenish-white flowers Nov-Dec orange fruit
  • Kohuhu - Pittosporum tenuifolium: Nectar spring To 8m sweet scented flowers often used as hedging
  • Kotukutuku/Tree Fuchsia - Fuchsia excorticate*: Nectar early summer. Berries summer-autumn 12m deciduous small tree red papery bark purple and red flowers through summer black berries
  • Kowhai - Sophora micophylla: Nectar early spring 10m wiry juvenile form open tree as adult yellow flowers important nectar source
  • Mahoe/Whiteywood - Melicytus ramiflorus*: Fruit late summer 10m very common small tree
  • Makomako/ Wineberry - Aristotelia serrata: Fruit autumn 10m fast-growing graceful spreading tree, numerous currant-like berries in autumn
  • Mapou - Myrsine australis: Fruit autumn 6m bushy shrub red-tinged leaves and stems
  • Miro - Prumnopitys ferruginea: Fruit autumn 25m forest tree yew-like leaves can be trimmed for hedging favoured food of pigeons
  • Nikau Palm - Rhopalostylis sapida: Fruit Red 10mm
  • Pate - Schefflera digitata*: Fruit autumn 8m spreading shrub/tree large soft compound leaves prefers damp
  • Porokaiwhiri/Pigeonwood - Hedycarya aborea*: Fruit autumn 12m tree with cream flowers Sept-Dec and orange drupes on female trees only prefers damp good for pigeons
  • Putaputaweta/Marble Leaf - Carpodetus serratus: Fruit autumn 10m spreading open tree
  • Rata/Northern Rata - Metrosideros robusta: Nectar Nov-Dec 30m tall forest tree red flowers
  • Rewarewa/NZ honeysuckle - Knightia excelsa: Nectar Oct-Dec 30m tall narrow tree unusual red flowers
  • Rimu/Red Pine - Dacrydium cupressinum: Fruit autumn 60m+ tall forest tree juvenile has hanging foliage and conical shape sporadic fruiting
  • Shiny Karamu - Coprosma lucida*: Fruit late summer early autumn up to 3m hardy shrub which grows in drier habitats than Karamu.
  • Tarata/lemonwood - Pittosporum eugenoides*: Nectar spring Fruit autumn 12m tree glossy leaves & small scented flowers
  • Taurepo/NZ Gloxinia - Rhabdothamnus solandri: Nectar extended season .6-1.5m twiggy shrub orange bell flowers all year
  • Tawa - Beilschmiedia tawa: Fruit autumn 25m graceful forest tree willow-like leaves black drupes slow-growing good for pigeons
  • Tikouka/Cabbage Tree - Cordyline australis: Fruit late summer-early autumn 12m slender trunk long strap leaves in tufts at branch ends bluish white berries
  • Titoki - Alectryon excelsus var. excelsus: Fruit late summer 10m shiny compound leaves good for pigeons
  • Totara - Podocarpus totara*: Fruit autumn 30m+ forest tree hardy in open sporadic fruiting
  • Wharangi - Melicope ternate: Seeds late summer 7m round-headed tree shining three-part leaves
  • Whauwhaupaku/Five Finger: Pseudopanax aboreus*: Fruit extended season Nectar winter To 8m much-branched shrub large leathery compound leaves

       *species for which several individuals may need to be planted to ensure fruiting

With a few of these plants each, you and your neighbours can create a network by which birds can travel from one area to another to feed. 

For further infomation and details of suitable planting zones see the following web adresses: