Habitat Gardening

My eye is repeatedly drawn to this delightful photo of a father Tawny Frogmouth and his hatchling. Tawny Frogmouth fathers look after their baby birds until they fledge and require wide branches or large forks in old trees to nest. The photo was taken by Darren Broughton from BIBY TV, a Youtube channel with many insightful videos about bird behaviour and bird-attracting plants.

We live in a unique and beautiful environment here in the Illawarra, nestled between the escarpment and the sea much of Wollongong has easy access to the bush or coast. This means the native wildlife also surrounds us and in many suburbs our residential gardens can provide important habitat for local critters.

You can begin by assessing the existing features and wildlife in your garden, you may already be getting lizards, skinks and birds for example, take a look at where they like to spend time and enhance those features in your garden.

You can attract wildlife by re-creating lost habitat in your own garden. It can be as simple as putting in a birdbath, modifying your existing garden or establishing a new native garden. A native habitat garden will provide food, water, nesting materials, shelter and protection for local native fauna.

When adding plants to your garden consider using the local native species that can be obtained from Council, community or specialist nurseries. Local species grow well and need less water than exotic plants, being suited to the local soils and climate.

Wildlife habitat checklist:

Local native plants, large trees (dead or alive), tree hollows, dense shrub mid story layer including prickly shrubs, layered vegetation types, logs, rocks, barks, drystone or timber retains walls, terracotta piping, compost bins, deep litter or mulch, nest boxes, insect hotels minimise pesticide use, avoid supplementary feeding of wildlife.Manage threats of predators by cats and dogs.

Layers:

The more layers you have in your garden, the greater the diversity of fauna visiting your garden. Combine trees, tall shrubs, medium shrubs, small shrubs, tufting plants, ground covers and mulch.

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