Make your garden friendlier for superb fairy-wrens
It seems unfair when one member of the family gets all the good looks, especially when it's the father. But that's how it is in families of the superb fairy-wren.
The dazzling blue plumage on a breeding male's head and neck and tail will catch your eye if you're lucky enough to have one in your area. These beautiful birds are not at all shy of humans and have been known to skip merrily among people sitting on a terrace or verandah. This is what a superb wren sounds like (MP3 - 279KB).
Somewhere nearby will be a group of small brown birds. These are the mother, and 'stay at home' sons and daughters of previous broods.
These fascinating little families of birds may well be your neighbours. Keep an eye out for them in your backyard or local park.
How you can help superb fairy-wrens prosper in your area
The family group guards a small-scale empire. Their territory will include a safe fortress of thick-growing shrubs, together with open areas such as lawns which are the rich food bowl for these birds. With a few simple changes, your backyard or park can become a better home for superb fairy-wrens.
What superb fairy-wrens like and dislike
Superb fairy-wrens love:
- Protection from predators – thickets of shrubs, with prickly branches or leaves can provide the perfect place to retreat from danger.
- Safe nesting sites – they like to build a nest about 1.2 metes above the ground. The nesting site should be among tightly packed shrubs
- Eating garden insects. Grasshoppers are a favourite.
- Open areas of lawn or leaf litter, where insects live and breed, providing a ready food supply to fairy-wrens.
But they don't like:
- Cats, dogs and foxes, which can frighten or even attack them.
- Garden pesticides, which kill insects, leaving the fairy-wrens with not enough to eat.
Be a superb fairy-wren buddy
- Plant a corner of your garden with native shrubs, especially those with prickly leaves and branches.
- Keep a watchful eye on your dog and cat if you know superb fairy-wrens live nearby.
- Plan your garden so that, over time, there is a variety of shrubs and open mulched areas or lawn.
- Using pesticides if superb fairy-wrens move into your garden.
Don't be surprised if:
- One colourful male is accompanied by a harem of brown birds. Those are actually juvenile males and females, together with his breeding partner.
Superb wren call courtesy of Nature Sound
Page last updated: 12 April 2012