Feathered Friends of the Garden
By Lynn Kirkland for 24th November
If the people of the Manawatu are feeling
a little perplexed as to what season they
are in, the inhabitants of the garden
world just carry on responding to their
natural rhythms and instincts as normal.
Although we grumble about the rain and
the cold temperatures, the nature’s creatures
just carry on regardless.
We are always delighted to see birds
nesting at the herb farm as they play
a valuable part in the balance of the
garden. Every year there is always a thrush
nesting in our old nursery area. I wonder
if this is the same mother thrush each
year. (I am not sure if the Dad thrushes
do nest sitting duties or not.)
This year our thrush parent has built
the nest under the hops vine. This is
very clever as the large leaf above the
nest acts as an umbrella on rainy days.
A watchful eye looks out at me as I try
to take photos without getting too close.
When she/he flew off I was able to peep
in the nest and see four beautiful blue
We regard birds as natural partners in
our gardening system.
Because of their natural insect controlling
duties we never need to lay snail bait
or use insecticides. I have often seen
thrushes banging snails against rocks
to get to the meal inside. Although in
an ideal world they would only eat slugs
and snails and leave the earthworms to
do their beneficial work in the soil,
it doesn’t work like that.
Other feathered residents like the fantails
like to eat their insect meals on the
It makes perfect sense to let nature
establish a balance in your garden as
it helps the environment, saves money
and provides valuable nature study lessons
for young children.
If you do see birds nesting in your garden,
teach children to watch from a distance
and never to touch the eggs or the parents
may abandon them.
A few weeks ago we have had an unusual
feathered visitor in the garden. A kaka
was sighted, appropriately in the native
area of the gardens. The kaka was not
given a warm welcome by our tuis. They
flew into the kaka to give a not so subtle
message of “this is our territory so make
like a bee and buzz off”
Oh well all is not perfect in the natural
world. One of the changes we have noticed
this season in the herb garden is the
huge amounts of rose flowers which are
a lovely compensation for the wet and