Stop the miners: bring back native birds with these tips 101



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If your garden is anything like mine, the miner birds have quite a bit of power.  And it is recognised as being a critical reason why bird diversity is dropping back across the country.  The noisy miner is a bird we all know and many of us can hear from across the yard as it forewarns of any disturbance to its space.  Highly territorial, the birds have also bee associated with eucalypt dieback and with chasing away of other birds, reducing the number of species in an area and causing knock on effects right through the ecosystem.

The birds are causing such problems that they are lists as a national threatening process.  So how can we prevent them doing so in our own backyards and protect the native birds from being frightened away?


Become bird-friendly in your garden

  Research Associate, University of New England has studied the Miner and  says we should build a bird friendly garden to prevent them impacting our space.

“Create a multi-layered habitat of ground covers, small and medium shrubs, and trees that provide food and shelter locations all year for a variety of species.


“These plant species need to have diverse structures, and should be close together to form dense, protective thickets, including climbers within medium-to-tall shrubs and trees, nectar-bearing and seed-bearing plants. Mulch can also encourage insect life for insectivorous birds.

“Plants should also be local species that grow naturally in the area and are suited to the climate. Native birds that live in the area will then visit your garden as another food source in their territory.

Reduce the weeds

If there is a dense understorey of growth in your garden, smaller birds can survive.

“Meanwhile, a thin midstorey with fewer leaves may help to reduce bell miner abundance, as suggested by our recent study near Kyogle, New South Wales,” said Kathryn in a recent article published in The Conversation.

Think about flowers and fruit in your gardens

Timing the production of flowers and fruit is important to bring food for the birds you want to keep there.

But avoid fruiting plants that attract bird-predators.

“You should also remove fruiting plants such as cotoneaster and blackberry that attract predators such as currawongs, to help reduce predation on smaller bird species.

Try to stay chemical-free

“Using chemical-free weed and pest control and mulching garden waste can also increase the food available for birds.”

Plant native grasses to attract birds

“Lawns can also be replaced with native grasses that produce seed to attract finches and other seed-eaters such as crimson rosellas.”

Give birds fresh water

“Birds also need fresh water, which you can provide with a pond or bird bath. This should be placed within vegetation to ensure birds feel safe from predators.”

What do you do regularly to attract native birds to your garden?  Share your tips below.

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. I thought miner birds (noisy miners) were native. You are not getting mixed up with that introduced pest, the Indian Mynah?

    5 REPLY
  2. The pic isn’t of Mynah birds. Mynah birds are black and yellow and are introduced.

    19 REPLY
    • Yes, it’s a shame Craiganlis, but starts at 60 do this all the time… headline one thing and show a pic of something completely different.

    • Jim Briggs, they are showing native birds, only an idiot would would think these were Indian mynah, what are some of you so picky?

    • Lee Horrocks I rather think you might be the idiot Lee. I only pointed out that the headline was obout something different to the picture, maybe you don’t read too well?

    • The headline says “Stop the Mynahs – bring back the native birds” so a picture of native birds is appropriate I think

    • The noisy mynah is a native but the one with the yellow beak and legs is an Indian mynah. Either way I get pecked at on my walk as they are very territorial

    • Also Indian Mynahs are black and brown and have a yellow ring around the eye…the noisy mynah is an Australian native is grey and black and is a honey eater they are especially fond of grevillias.

    • Julie Thompson i have never been pecked by the noisy mynah and from memory the indian mynah hasnt attacked me either though i have watch them attack native birds..they attack in groups and they will attack large birds like magpies and galahs and also small falcons but they dont seem to want to attack humans yet.

    • The Indian Mynahs at my place sit on the rails of my verandah and they torment the hell out of my poor indoor kitty. I hate the damn things.

    • Lee Horrocks Probably because it’s a common habit of Journalists these days. I also find it irritating, I expect the picture to be relevant to the story. If the article is about Africans I don’t expect to see a photo of a Chinese person.

    • So what does an Indian Miner look like Lee Horrocks. I would hate to mistake them for something else!

  3. If you read about noisy miners, you’ll see that although they are native to Australia, they work in groups to eliminate other birds. Perhaps the caption should have said “Bring back the other native birds”.

    1 REPLY
  4. When we first moved to a new Canberra suburb we would see lots of native birds, cuckoo shrikes in the winter, flocks of red brow finches, small parrots and honey eaters. Then came sparrows, blackbirds and starlings and all the small natives disappeared, then came Indian Mynahs then it was just them and some of the bigger Australian birds like magpies. Here in Moonta pigeons are the bane of our historic old home, perching on the deep stone window sills, ledges and rooftop.

  5. This will bring in more birds, but how does that stop the Mynahs?

    1 REPLY
    • The native birds will drive the Indian mynah away if they are in a garden like the one described in the article, in my garden the native honeyeaters are very territorial and aggressive when nesting and they chase them.

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