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Gardens can help support the local fauna or wildlife, especially the birds and insects, our most mobile fauna. With suitable places to shelter and hide from predators, gardens can also support reptiles, frogs and mammals.
All animals need a place and space to live in. For some it is a large area, much bigger than a garden or town. These animals move through the Margaret River region using different parts at different times of year or even from year to year. For other animals it may be a smaller area, several gardens in size or a combination of native bush and gardens.
Urbanisation and clearing have changed the landscape for many fauna, however we can still provide resources for them to use. Our collective gardens, street trees and parks can be stepping stones or corridors for their movement in search of food, shelter and water. And if we are clever, we can provide sources of food, shelter and water in our very own gardens.
What makes a garden attractive to our local birds and other fauna?
– Plants are the crucial building block. Apart from the potential sources of food and shelter they provide, they also attract insects – a food source for many animals.
– Having sunny and shady patches in a garden at different times of day is useful. Do you know where they are in your garden? Many birds and reptiles love to ‘sun themselves’ or ‘bake in the sun’ from time to time.
– A garden can be a work in progress. Like in nature, it can evolve through stages. Even a patch of weeds can attract and help support insect populations.
– The more variety in a garden the greater the diversity of wildlife it will attract and support. This can include logs, rocks, slopes, flat areas, water sources, bare ground, leaf litter, variety of trees, shrubs, ground-cover and herbs.
– Providing a source of water that birds can drink from and bathe in.
– Allow areas where leaf litter can collect for reptiles, and creatures that live in the soil, especially frogs and earthworms.
– Keep an eye out for what visits your garden, especially as you make changes such as adding new plants. Birds in particular will notice any changes. You might see your resident honeyeater or wagtail investigate the new plant or soil you have dug. The buzz and busyness of insects in a garden are also a great sign.
– The rewards can be high, especially if you have places where you can watch the more visible birds in the garden without disturbing them, such as from a kitchen window or veranda.
– For the ecology of your garden to be healthy avoid the use of chemicals where feasible (detergents, snail bait, insecticides, artificial fertilisers, herbicides).