welcoming birds and insects to the garden



One way of welcoming insects to the garden is to make or buy a special insect house. It provides a place where insects can go when it's rainy or cold, to shelter and lay their eggs. Insect eggs hatch when the temperature and climate are right. Some insects lay their eggs on leaves of plants so the young can have a supply of food when they hatch. Others, like solitary native bees and wasps, like to lay their eggs somewhere safe from predators, and sheltered from the weather. So far no bees or wasps have used of this particular house, because I would have heard them buzzing. But there is webbing there, so it has been used already by some creatures.

video

The way to welcome birds is to provide a variety of plants for food and shelter - tall trees, with a dense under- storey of plants to provide shelter and safety for small birds. The other way is to provide them with clean water for drinking and bathing. The video shows some Magpies using the bird bath. Other birds that have come regularly lately, are Pied Currawongs,  Little Wattlebirds and Pigeons. I have also seen - and heard - chittering flocks of tiny insect eating birds in the garden, such as various species of Thornbills. But only once, on a very hot day, did they use the bird bath. 

Butterflies need water too, but it needs to be in a very shallow bowl. Planting butterfly attracting plants is the best way to attract butterflies. If they flower at different times the butterflies may stay long enough to breed. I've planted a little group of Bursaria spinosa, a plant indigenous to this area, and supposedly a magnet for butterflies. They haven't flowered yet, but hopefully soon there'll be more butterflies in the garden and more different species.

Bursaria spinosa
Heteronympha merope - Common Brown Butterfly

Photographing a dead insect certainly makes it easier to capture the details. Common Brown butterflies are native to Australia. This butterfly is a male - you can tell by the markings on the wings. One generation of these insects are completed each year. The butterflies emerge in mid-spring, but the females are inactive until mid-summer. By late summer the males are all dead and only the females are still alive. So it seems likely that this particular butterfly died a natural death.





Comments

  1. today we were watching a mystery bird harvesting bugs from our garden.
    Still need to organise an insect hotel.

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    1. I wonder what the mystery bird was. Good luck with your new insect hotel - or maybe I should be wishing the insects luck!

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  2. Now that is a fine sturdy insect house. I love to provide these too along with water and plants for many critters to enjoy! Beautiful butterfly.

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    1. I worry a bit that I'm getting too obsessed with the critters. I must get back to the plants soon.

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  3. I have had insects take over a small birdhouse. If I had an insect hotel could like yours, perhaps it would lure them away from the bird's abode!

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    1. that's really interesting, Deb. I realize I've have had the same thing. I must take a photo of it. I suppose the more accomodation we provide the better,whoever (whatever) ends up using it.

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  4. Such beautiful images of evidence of insects in your garden! The butterfly is beautiful, too. I'm thinking of adding an insect hotel, so thanks for sharing another design.

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    1. I look forward to seeing your insect hotel, Beth.

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  5. Your insect shelter is lovely as well as functional! Mine are never this nice, just random bundles of hollow sticks stuffed in here and there.

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    1. I'm sure the insects won't mind what it looks like. This one was a surprise birthday present, I didn't make it. But I love it so I thought I must put it in the blog.

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  6. dear cyberfriends, has anyone clicked on the video link to see the magpies? I'm not exactly a movie producer, but I'd love to share the short video with you.

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    1. Yes it has shared! I love magpies, they're such lovely friendly birds, if you can make friends with them. I just found this today: https://www.facebook.com/themagpiewhisperer/?fref=ts
      She's the 'magpie whisperer' and shares clips of her local magpies doing funny things.

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  7. I love your insect hotel! I would love to provide a home for some blue banded bees. I started looking into it but other things took precedence.. seeing yours here has given me another little push.

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    1. I would love it if a blue banded bee moved in. I haven't noticed any in the garden but I have a vague plan to write a post on the differences between our native bees and European honey bees. Delighted to have given you a useful push!

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  8. Thanks Sue for your concern in my blogpost. I replied to you there.

    It is easier for us in the tropics, as even without providing manmade houses for the insects, they are just so much of them in the province. Our biodiversity is not altered much yet because we don't have farms nearby that uses pesticides of completely clean culture. Actually, lots of insects, wasps, spiders, birds, etc are my problems. They eat a lot of our domestic plants, survival of the fittest is the rule.

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    1. Hi Andrea, thanks for the comment, I think gardening in the tropics must be very different to other places.

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  9. we have an insect house just like your one, it does get used. The Magpies were enjoying your birdbath. Myra loves to feed and watch the birds which come into the garden, only problem is the amount of wood pigeons which this attracts (they make a helluva mess)

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    1. Hi Alastair, I guess we provide the amenities but can't decide exactly who is going to use the birdbath or the insect house!

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  10. I have a bee house similar to yours. :o) I also created a brush pile full of little spots for small creatures to hide and rest. :o) I'd love to do a census of who lives there!

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    1. I'd love to do a census too, I've also got piles of wood and branches so critters can hide in them. Hopefully the small critters aren't rats.

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  11. Each year I try to add something to the garden to encourage more wildlife (except deer!). I deliberately did not clean up quite so much in the Fall, leaving piles of debris at the edge of the garden as insect housing. My goal is to be barely able to walk in the garden withought bumping into a bee or butterfly.

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    1. That sounds like paradise - I would love that too. I don't think tidiness helps to attract critters, I also leave stuff at the back of the garden near the fence. I think there are little skinks living in piles of wood.

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