It is not difficult to turn your home into a haven for wild species, where you will be constantly enriched by watching their antics and celebrating their visits.
Here at my home in Wendouree, sparrows, honeyeaters, wattlebirds, mudlarks, magpies, blackbirds and crows, regularly visit for a drink from one of several birdbaths. Less frequent guests are crimson and Eastern rosellas, crested pigeons and Japanese doves. On several occasions a gouldian finch has brightened my morning.
It is always good to provide habitat for wild species around your home. Planting bird attracting plants is one way of making birds welcome in your backyard. Consider planting out your verge or nature strip as a wildlife haven, but check Council regulations for your area first. In some heritage overlay areas in Ballarat, the City Council permits only lawns and street trees provided by the Council itself.
However, in newer areas, such as Lake Gardens, Wendouree and Alfredton, the Council can be very encouraging when it comes to providing habitat for birds and other creatures.
Ballarat City Council has an excellent resource about indigenous bird and plant species online. It is a valuable resource for local residents wanting to provide habitat for local fauna by incorporating indigenous species of flora into their gardens on a big, or smaller scale!
Just as important is to provide water, especially in drier times of the year, for birds and other creatures. Bees need water, as do lizards and many beneficial insects such as lady birds.
Gound level containers of water are ideal for lizards and insects, whereas birds like more open raised water sources. Ideally, there should be some nearby bushes for the birds to perch on, but keep birdbaths far enough away, that cats can't hide in the bush and pounce when a bird lands to drink or bathe in the birdbath.
I place a large stone in the centre of my birdbath, so that smaller birds feel secure. It also takes less water to fill and replenish daily. On very hot days, I try to replenish water containers with cool water, as water will quickly heat up in the sun.
Don't put stale loaves of bread, cake, or meat scraps into the rubbish. Birds absolutely love and appreciate such easy meals and will soon clean up any area you scatter for them. I usually rip or cut these into small pieces, so that smaller birds can have their share, along with the local magpies, crows and more. My backyard guests enjoyed a feast of bread crusts left over from making turkey stuffing, as well as ham off cuts of rind and fat; an avian Christmas feast!
Lizards will be regular visitors, or even take up residence if you mulch some areas with wood chips, lay some old logs, clay plumbing pipes or stones around. Both the little fellas and a lovely big blue tongue have been residents within my own garden where I have provided such habitat.
'The Bird Man', in Howitt St, also makes fantastic homes for stingless native bees ands wasps at very reasonable prices.
Also. consider letting your grass grow and seed a little, this time of year. You may well be rewarded with visiting flocks of quail, zebra finches and other seed loving birds!
If you have space, a small frog pond with appropriate habitat planting, will soon be home to resident frogs!
Encouraging such species of birds, insects and reptiles into your garden, will help control pests, like white flys and thrip, as well as cabbage moth.