Creating habitat for wildlife
A garden with lots of flowering native plants will attract native birds and insects. A bushy understory, logs and stones provide homes for small birds and lizards. A fishpond may attract frogs and a birdbath is always popular.
- Plant a variety of native trees and plants. These are important sources of food and shelter and are better suited to Australia’s climate.
- Provide plenty of water sources such as ponds, water features and cat proof birdbaths.
- Rocks, sticks, brush, mulch and piles of leaves all provide habitat for insects. Insects in turn, will attract more birds, lizards and frogs.
- Treasure those big old trees. It can take decades for the hollows to form that animals like owls and possums need. Approximately 17 per cent of Australian bird species use the hollows of large trees for shelter and as nesting sites.
- Install some nest boxes for possums and birds. You can build your own or purchase a ready made one.
- Throw away those pesticides and install a bug hotel for ladybirds, beetles and native bees. They will help keep pests out of your veggie garden too.
For more ideas about creating habitat in your garden visit Habitat Stepping Stones.
Also look out for the upcoming Gardening For Wildlife program run by Yarra.
Visit the Victorian Indigenous Nurseries Cooperative (VINC) for supplies of local native plants and advice specific to your garden. They are community owned and operated, and are located at Yarra Bend Park.
Is your garden wildlife safe?
A garden that is safe for wildlife means it is safer for pets and children too.
Fruit tree netting
Unsafe fruit tree netting can trap and kill flying foxes and birds. If you want to protect your fruit with netting, you must only use wildlife safe netting. Netting with a mesh aperture (hole size) of 5mm X 5mm or less when fully stretched is safe. If you can poke a little finger through the net it is not wildlife safe.
A good alternative to netting a whole tree is using net bags or fruit socks to protect bunches of fruit or individual branches. Leave what you don’t need to share with wildlife. Remove old netting that is not protecting fruit and check netted trees every day to ensure the nets are not loose and that no animals are trapped.
If you see netting that is not safe for wildlife, you can print off the letter from Wildlife Victoria and put it in the letterbox.
Poisons and baits
Avoid using poisons and baits as these may kill non-target animals. Rat poison may kill owls and other native animals, while snail pellets will kill blue tongue lizards. These products pose a risk to children as well as pets.
Safe Cat, Safe Wildlife
Keeping your cat indoors or in an outdoor enclosure will keep them and wildlife safe. For ideas on keeping kitty happy visit Safe Cat, Safe Wildlife.
Fishponds and pools
Water in your garden may attract frogs and birds, but make sure anything that falls into the water has a way to climb out again. You can use rocks and branches or a “frog log” in your pool. Find out more information on how to build a frog pond.
Water for wildlife
Put water out for wildlife in summer. Make sure anything that falls in can climb out again (use stones and sticks), and change the water regularly to prevent mosquitoes breeding.
Slow down on the road
Wildlife are at risk on our roads. Observe speed limits and slow down in wet weather and when it is dark, dawn or dusk. If you hit a bird or mammal, stop and check. Call Wildlife Victoria for help. A possum or kangaroo may have a surviving joey (baby) in its pouch that can be saved.
Melbourne Water Frog Census
Frogs play an important role in the waterway ecosystem and are easily affected by changes to the environment. Get involved in the community frog monitoring program, collect data to help manage frog populations and raise awareness of waterway health issues.
BirdLife Australia Aussie Backyard Bird Count
The Backyard Bird Count happens every year and everyone can get involved. The data collected assists BirdLife Australia further our understanding of the birds that live where people live.
The Yarra Riverkeeper Association
The City of Yarra is a proud supporter of the Yarra Riverkeeper Association. Help protect and restore our namesake and Melbourne’s most important natural asset, the Yarra River. The river and its corridor are one of the region’s prime wildlife habitats and a popular place for recreational and nature-based activities, which are vital to community well-being and the city’s livability.
Friends of Merri Creek
Friends Of Merri Creek is a community group that actively work to restore and protect the Merri Creek. They help guide the Merri Creek Management Committee and organise regular community activities such as planting and revegetation working bees, site maintenance, wildlife surveys, StreamTeam water quality testing and litter blitzes.
Darebin Parklands Association
The Darebin Parklands Association (DPA) is an award-winning environmental friends group that cares for the Darebin Parklands, a 33 hectare bushland reserve on the edge of the City of Yarra. They run regular events, a Junior Ranger Club and revegetation projects.
Volunteer with Parks Victoria, via Park Connect. There are a number of environmental ‘Friends Of’ Groups in Yarra, including Friends of Bats and Bushcare Inc who support Melbourne’s largest Grey-headed flying fox colony at Yarra Bend Park and provide Victoria’s only soft release program for orphaned and injured bats.
Yarra Climate Action Now
Yarra Climate Action Now (YCAN) is made up of people who want to see much stronger action on climate change. They are an independent community group based in the inner Melbourne suburbs of the City of Yarra. They act locally, but also think globally.
Red-Rumped Parrot (Psephotus haematonotus) in Darling Gardens.