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					Creating a wildlife
                   w               IRES WILDLIFE INFORMATION SHEET
                                                                                                                                                        Rescue Line: (02) 8977 3333




friendly garden
Introduction                                                                                  The following points may be useful before setting out to
As valuable habitat for our native wildlife decreases, more and more                          plant a native garden:
of our native birds, mammals, reptile and frogs are moving in to ur-                          • Choose plants like eucalyptus and lemon scented gums that pro-
ban areas. The problem is that very few of our urban areas provide a
                                                                                                   vide food for possums as well as providing food for Flying-foxes
suitable habitat for many, if any, of these creatures.
                                                                                                   in the form of nectar and pollen.
                                                                                              •    Place possum and bird boxes in a safe high place in your yard.
Further problems
As you are no doubt aware, the impact that domestic cats and dogs
                                                                                              •    Place a pond in a sheltered spot to provide water for birds and
have on our urban wildlife is significant, not to mention that it is                               habitat for frogs.
caused by introduced predators such as foxes and feral cats.                                  •    Provide large rocks and hollow logs for habitats for lizards.
                                                                                              •    Do not provide artificial foods as this poses a major problem to
This impact, combined with the stresses associated with habitat loss,                              the birds. The diets that we often give them are not suitable and
is by no means the only problem facing our wildlife. Competition                                   many health problems can result. Remember, artificial feeding
from introduced bird species such as Spotted Turtle Doves and In-                                  can increase the population of the species being fed which will
dian Mynahs also decrease both the food and nesting sites available to                             lead to the displacement of other species in the area and sharing
our smaller native species such as Wrens and Robins.                                               of bird feeders quickly spreads disease. Finally, birds may become
                                                                                                   dependant on artificial feed. If this feed is stopped the animals
Food for Thought                                                                                   may not be able to fend for themselves.
There are several species of birds with which most people would be                            •    Allow mulch to build up as this will not only decrease the need
familiar such as Rainbow Lorikeets, Magpies and Noisy Miners. The                                  for water but also provide feeding opportunities and nesting ma-
reason for these species being so abundant is that they are often fed                              terial for ground birds and small mammals.
artificial foods by well meaning people.                                                      •    Decrease grassed areas as they are favoured by large aggressive
                                                                                                   ground birds like magpies and noisy miners.
The effects of artificial feeding are twofold. Firstly, they do not pro-                      •    Keep cats and dogs secure at night.
vide a suitable diet for the birds and health problems such as calcium
deficiencies and “runner syndrome” (a feather condition common in
                                                                                              •    Make sure cats in your area have collars and noisy bells.
Rainbow Lorikeets) are becoming more and more common.                                         •    Talk to your neighbours about planting to increase habitat to your
                                                                                                   local area.
The second problem caused by artificial feeding is that it causes an
increase in the population of the species being fed so that they over-                        SUGGESTED SPECIES LIST
whelm other native species. One example of this is the rapid decrease
in numbers of the Scaly Breasted Lorikeet. This species is the shy
                                                                                              Dwarf Apple, Angophora hispida (N, I); Crimson Bottlebrush,
relative of the gregarious Rainbow Lorikeet. The Rainbow Lorikeet
has taken great advantage of the artificial feeding provided and has all                      Callistemon citrinus (N, I, F); Spotted Gum, Eucalypt maculata
but eliminated the Scaly Breasted Lorikeet from our urban areas.                              (N, I, F); Sydney peppermint, Eucalyptus piperita (N, I , F);
                                                                                              Tick Bush, Kunzea ambigua (N, I, F); Lemon-scented tea-
The other part of the problem is caused by the choice of plants when                          tree, Leptospermum polygalifolium (N, I ,S); Snow-in-summer,
trying to improve the attractiveness of their gardens to native ani-                          Melaleuca lineariifolia (N, I, S, Sh); Prickly-leaved Paperbark,
mals. The showy nectar rich Grevillias and Banksias so favoured by                            Melaleuca styphelioides (N, I, S, Sh); Sunshine Wattle, Acacia
gardeners are having a similar effect to the artificial feed already men-                     terminalis (S, I); Flax-leaved Wattle, Acacia terminalis (S, I);
tioned. The abundance of these plants has led to a dramatic increase                          Healthy Parrot Heath, Dillwynia retorta (S, I); False Sarsapa-
of Rainbow Lorikeets and Noisy Miners in our suburbs.
                                                                                              rilla, Hardenbergia violacea (I, S); Heath Leaved Banksia,
                                                                                              Banksia ericifolia (S, I, F, Sh): White spider-flower, Grevillea
The need for planting cannot be overstated but the natural environ-
ment is very complex and an attempt must be made to copy this                                 linearifolia (S, I, F); Willow-leaved Hakea, Hakea salicifolia (F,
complexity in our planting. When planning a native garden, remem-                             I S); Forest Oak, Allocasuarina torulosa (S, I); Common Hop
ber that birds and animals use plants for many things such as food,                           Bush, Dodonaea triquetra (I, S).
shelter and breeding sites. Plants need not actually provide food di-
rectly but can attract insects which in turn provide food for birds.                          (Key: S= Seed, I=Insects, F=Foliage, Sh=Shelter, N=Nectar)


               Please remember WIRES is a registered charity and relies upon the generosity of the public to continue our work. Donations $2 and over are tax deductible.
                   w               IRES WILDLIFE INFORMATION SHEET

Chemicals can be bad news for native animals
                                                                                                                                                        Rescue Line: (02) 8977 3333




These days many of us rarely think twice about using chemicals around                         ANTS
the house and garden. It is so convenient to buy the latest insecticides                      Spraying the nest with a mix of eucalyptus oil and water, or pouring
or snail baits with little thought of how these chemicals might affect                        methylated spirits and boiling water into the hole of an ant mound,
our waterways, soil or the native animals that inhabit our backyards.                         can help control ants.
    Many snail baits now include an ingredient that deters domestic
pets and wildlife from eating them, but they don’t deter birds and                            COCKROACHES
lizards that eat the snails that have digested the baits. The poison is                       Place lard in an empty margarine container and place in areas where
indirectly passed on. And if all the birds and lizards are killed off,                        cockroaches have been sighted. The cockroaches can get into the
there will be no more natural predators for the snails and their numbers                      containers but not out.
will increase. You’ll find you have more snails than you began with!
    Wherever possible seek safe, non-chemical, alternatives for                               SNAILS
controlling pests in your backyard and when selecting your cleaning                           Place milk or beer in the bottom of an empty margarine container
products. Many natural products are just as affective and often are                           and set into the ground so the top of the container is level with the
much cheaper than store bought alternatives!                                                  soil. Snails will climb into the container and get stuck. Alternatively,
                                                                                              patrol the garden after dark with a torch and collect the snails by
Around the house…                                                                             hand – just be careful where you dispose of them!
White vinegar is a wonderful all-purpose cleaner that can be used to
clean ceramic tiles in the bathroom, kitchen and toilet. Added to the                         MICE & RATS
washing machine it will also disinfect and whiten whites. Wipe the                            Be very careful about the way you place baits so that possums and
inside of your fridge with it to prevent mildew and pour it down the                          gliders can’t get to them. Place baits under a wire basket without a
sink after a handful of bicarb soda to unblock drains!                                        base – rodents will burrow under the basket, possums and gliders will
                                                                                              not. Remember a half-dead mouse is easy pray for a raptor and most
In the yard…                                                                                  poisons used to kill rodents will harm birds. Try to prevent rodents
The easiest way to get rid of pests in the backyard is to encourage                           from moving in by keeping your compost heap covered and by
their natural predators. Plant native trees and shrubs to attract insect                      increasing hygiene around the house and yard. If you have a
eating birds, and place rocks and hollow logs around the garden to                            reoccurring problem, a pest control company can rodent proof the
attract a variety of lizards (lizards do a great job keeping snails and                       house.
spiders at bay). A pond is not only a lovely feature, but it will also
provide a home for frogs, and a source of water for a variety of wildlife.


     BLUE TONGUE LIZARDS
     A welcome addition to the garden
     The most common lizard coming into the Sydney WIRES network is
     the Eastern Blue-Tongued lizard. This lizard is the largest Australian
     member of the skink family. Despite their large size, these lizards are
     non-venomous and completely harmless. Unfortunately, most Blue-
     Tongues come into care as a result of domestic animal attack,
     usually dogs, or they are hit by cars while sunning themselves on the
     road. As well as this, these lizards favour long grass and are often injured by people whilst mowing lawns or trimming
     their edges.
        The Blue-Tongue is a welcome addition to a garden. These lizards feed on snails, beetles, spiders and will also eat some
     plant material (strawberries are a favourite!). To protect Blue-Tongues living in your yard, provide them with bits of pipe
     or a hollow log, or rock mounds, where they can hide from predators. Blue tongues tend to come out during the middle
     of the day, when the sun is strongest, so this would be the best time to keep an eye on your dog or cat.
        If a Blue-Tongue lizard is found injured, grasp it around the head and shoulders with one hand, while the other hand
     steadies the tail and hind legs. The animal should be placed in a box in a quiet, dark place until it can be placed with a
     reptile carer.
        PLEASE NOTE: All native animals are protected and it is an offence to kill any native animal including snakes and
     lizards. You will find that the old saying “they are more afraid of you than you are of them” is true, and if you do en-
     counter a reptile in your backyard, keep your domestic pets away and give it some space, it is likely to move off when it is
     ready. If you would rather keep snakes out of the backyard, clear away any piles of wood or rubbish you may have lying
     around and keep your garden clean and tidy. If they have no where to hide, they’ll go elsewhere.


               Please remember WIRES is a registered charity and relies upon the generosity of the public to continue our work. Donations $2 and over are tax deductible.

				
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