Feeding Wildlife

by Marian Andrews

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Eastern Spinebill searching for nectar
Eastern Spinebill searching for nectar

 

 


Kangaroos grazing

 


Kookaburra searching the ground for insects and small reptiles
Kookaburra searching the ground for insects and small reptiles

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Wildlife in our area is precious and beautiful. We watch birds in Grevillea trees, Bottlebrushes and other native shrubs they are searching for their natural food, Kookaburras dive to the ground to pick up lizards or crickets, Magpies foraging around looking for worms and other insects, most days you might hear baby birds calling for their parents to feed them. At night Possums and Gliders can be found in tree’s eating leaves, insects, pollen, nectar and sap. If you’re lucky to find a Glider you might see it glide from tree to tree. Most days you might see a Wallaby or Kangaroo that may come to feed on grasses close to your home.

Over the last week it has rained enough for native plants to bloom and grow so there’s food for our wildlife to feed on, without us interfering with nature. Lately we had calls regarding, what foods to feed possums? Even though wildlife may come to your back verandah or into your yard, we advise the best thing to do is let native animals feed themselves, they know which plants and shrubs are correct for there diet.

If we interfere with there diet native animals and birds don’t get the correct nutrients that their diet requires. By feeding possums may be cutting their life span down from 10-12 years to approximately half. Possums also make a nuisance of themselves to your neighbors, your neighbors class these as pests, this is created by feeding them.

Possums CANNOT be relocated and it is illegal for anyone to remove a possum from its territory. Each possum have its own territory, if it is moved into another area, that possum will be killed by other possums and predators – foxes, owls, dogs, and cats.

Please let nature feed itself, the weather has encouraged growth of our native environment so there plenty of native food.

If you where to place bird seed out for the birds its very important to choose the correct seed, please be aware that black sunflower seed and sunflower seed alone is very bad for any bird, its very fatty and unhealthy for them it would be like eating fish and chips for dinner every night.

Bread, honey and sugar is another thing that is VERY bad to feed any animal, if its not found in a native environment it will harm an any native animal.

An appropriate seed is Small Parrot Mix which is available from local produce stores. It is a fantastic mix of seed and grains, we do suggest to only give a small amount every few days.

When feeding from a bird feeder it is suggested to have the feeder up high, the same is suggested for leaving out water, as feeding birds makes them an easy target for cats, dogs and hawks.

Please remember to wash it out nightly, many bird disease are being spread through bird feeders, please don’t leave seed in it overnight as seed is very harmful to possums, it will cause bloating and their belly may swell up and this can be fatal.

By feeding birds it can also make them dependent on you and a nuisance to your neighbors and if you go away or move house they may starve.

Many wildlife carers have attended rescues where a bird had been feeding on a bird feeder, and been startled they have flown into windows, this can cause serious injuries.

The beautiful Rainbow Lorikeet is from the parrot family; their diet consists of nectar, not bird seed, nor bread, sugar and honey.

They have a brush at the tip of their tongue so they can scoop out nectar, if they eat seed this bristle becomes damaged and they are unable to get nectar from native blossoms.

Most of the time these birds come into care with bad vitamin deficiencies and feather damage this is from eating seed.

If you want to feed Rainbow Lorikeets purchase a nectar powder from your local produce and pet shops.

The best way to encourage native animals and bird to your yard is plant native shrubs. We all love to watch birds and possums, if we can keep it that way by not feeding them, they will be healthier and live longer in there natural habitat.


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