What you can do
Lend a hand
There are lots of things you can do to encourage birds and animals to live happily in our villages. Here are a few ideas.
Volunteer for a community group
Community groups work hard to make our city a great home for us and for the plants and wildlife where we live. Why not get in touch and see if you can help.
A friendly group of volunteers helps to restore bushland in the city by planting local indigenous plants to encourage indigenous birds, lizards and other species back into our communities.
This volunteer group is helping to reintroduce local plant species to the City of Sydney and Leichhardt areas. You can get involved in nursery projects such as collecting and propagating seeds, nurturing seedlings, weeding and planting. New volunteers are always welcome.
Plant a tree
We organise special planting sites each year as part of National Tree Day. Why not come along on the day and plant local indigenous trees, shrubs and grasses in our great, green parks. Check their website for more dates and information.
Keen to learn more?
Here are some of our favourite sites to learn more about birds, animals and our great green surrounds in Sydney.
Find out more about Australian birds and their habitats, and learn how to create bird-friendly spaces in your garden and local community.
For everyone who enjoys their backyard animals and wants to learn more about them. Find out how to attract them and how to live with them.
This association encourages best practice in bushland management and bush regeneration.
Build it and they will come
You can encourage indigenous species by creating habitat in your backyard, your balcony or even on your roof or walls!
Even small areas can be important – they can act as stepping stones between larger habitat areas for local wildlife.
Here are some of our top tips to help create your own slice of backyard wildlife heaven:
- Plant dense, local indigenous shrubs and grasses to provide food and shelter for little birds like the adorable superb fairy-wren and the striking New Holland honeyeater.
- Avoid planting large flowering varieties (such as hybrid grevilleas) as these encourage larger, aggressive birds such as the noisy miner (see more below) that bully the smaller, less common birds.
- Don't be scared of water! Birds love baths and frogs love ponds. Local indigenous frog species such as the striped marsh frog and common eastern froglet are regular visitors to water worlds in the city.
- Lizards go crazy for rockeries and rock retaining walls. Just ask the eastern blue-tongue lizard, bar-sided skink and wall skink.
- Avoid using herbicides and pesticides such as snail baits which can harm indigenous wildlife – try chemical-free gardening instead.
- Don't feed birds, possums or other animals as it encourages the common and most aggressive species, often at the expense of others.
- Attract insects to your garden. Many small birds, frogs and lizards feed on insects as part of their natural diet. Plant a section of your garden with local indigenous shrubs and grasses, add a wood pile and you will encourage some great pollinators and a great food selection for native fauna.
Discourage pests: Common myna and noisy miner
The common myna (also known as the Indian myna) is an introduced bird species that is considered a pest in Australia.
The common myna is brown with a black head and yellow bill.
They commonly pick off seedlings in vegetable gardens, sometimes raid fruit trees, and often eat pet food. They also like to nest in places that can cause damage to property, like in roofs, under eaves, in building gaps and in air-conditioning.
Despite most people's perceptions, there is no evidence that common mynas are having an impact on local biodiversity.
Research shows that it's actually the native noisy miner (pictured above), an aggressive and territorial species which is negatively impacting small bird populations.
The noisy miner is mostly grey with black crown and cheeks and yellow bill.
To discourage both species from your neighbourhood, try the following:
- plant more local, native shrubs and grasses, and reduce your lawn area if you can
- don't feed birds – they don't need extra food
- feed pets inside if possible but if not, don't leave your pets unwanted food where birds can get it – these birds will eat almost anything and pet food is a favourite
- place netting over your vegetable garden
- block holes in roofs and eaves to stop birds nesting and, hopefully, break the nesting cycle
- keep palms and other non-native trees trimmed and remove dead fronds.
Last updated: Tuesday, 15 July 2014