How to make your garden fauna friendly

Perth is continually expanding and growing; as a consequence our native bushland is being cleared for housing development. The remaining bushland becomes degraded and isolated into small patches. This makes it challenging for fauna that get trapped in small remnant patches of bush and have to travel through and exist among residential areas.

Friendly garden Plate 1 Being an animal lover, I have always tried to make my home environment fauna friendly; I believe it is very important to try and co-exist with fauna and provide some assistance with resources. Fauna that are likely to occur within metropolitan Perth and utilise your garden are invertebrates (e.g. butterflies, bees), frogs (e.g. Litoria moorei, Heleioporus eyrei), small reptiles (e.g. Menetia greyii, Cryptoblepharus buchananii) and birds (e.g. New Holland Honeyeater, Magpie Lark, Red-tailed Black-cockatoo). Depending on where you live, mammals such as the quenda or common brushtail possum may also utilise your garden.

Firstly, the most important thing to do for your garden is to plant native trees, shrubs and ground covers such as grevilleas, acacias, banksias, eucalypts and native grasses and sedges . Planting a combination of these provide different strata for a variety of animals to utilise (Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2010). This creates a colourful and attractive environment for various bird species to feed and nest. Placing a bird bath or pond in your garden provides an extra water supply for birds, especially in summer when it is scarce. Using native vegetation in your garden also attracts beneficial insects that assist in pollination.

To attract reptiles, sufficient ground cover and leaf litter (e.g. leaf mulch and bark) provides shelter and foraging areas. Substrate such as logs and rocks provides basking areas and crevices for shelter. Lots of ground cover and leaf litter also provides a moist area for frogs to shelter and feed. Having a pond in your garden will not only support a variety of aquatic and semi-aquatic native plants, but will also provide habitat for native frogs and invertebrates (Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2010). Friendly garden Plate 2

It also allows you to keep native fish, which can control mosquito populations (Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2010). If you live close to fringing bush and further out of suburban areas you may have native mammals such as the quenda visiting your garden. If this is the case, provide plenty of low covering thick shrubs for shelter and lots of leaf litter for the quenda to forage in. If your garden does not have large trees that can provide hollows, you can install nest boxes, providing nesting and breeding areas for birds (e.g. parrots) and/or mammals.

Finally, make sure you have responsible pet management and try to reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides. Good Luck and enjoy, the benefits of having a fauna friendly garden are truly rewarding.

Hannah Anderson

References:

Department of Environment and Natural Resources. 2010. Backyards for Wildlife: Creating a Wildlife Friendly Garden. Blackwood, SA. http://www.backyards4widlife.com.au

Image Reference: http://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/Living+in+Ryde/Around+Your+Home/Attracting+Wildlife http://denniswetherley.redbubble.com/sets/75183/works/2784681-new-holland-honey-eater-feeding-on-a-grevillea-flower

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