Increasing the amount of vegetation suitable for native birds such as tui and bellbird to feed (and nest in) is essential for their return.
Gardeners can help to draw tui and bellbirds to Hamilton by planting native food species. As well as tui and bellbirds, native plants and trees can provide a food source and habitat for other native birds and insects.
Flower nectar is the main food for tui, but they also eat fruit. Bellbirds eat nectar.
Waikato Regional Council recommends native plants. Although exotic trees can provide supplementary food, especially over the winter, care needs to be taken not to plant invasive pest plants.
The table below shows when various native plants are flowering or have nectar available for tui to feed on. This table is also in the brochure, available for downloading here:
Puriri (vitex lucens) and kohekohe (dysoxylum spectabile): frost tender; can be difficult to grow in Hamilton.
Mountain flax (phormium cookianum): undesirable to grow this species in conjunction with lowland flax (phormium tenax)
since they hybridise.
This spring, a number of garden centres and nurseries are supporting the Hamilton Halo project by promoting tui food species to their customers. Thanks to these businesses for their support in bringing tui back to Hamilton.
Palmers Gardenworld Hamilton
Full Bloom Nursery
|Big Tree Warehouse
1225 Kaipaki Rd
Consider using ecosourced plants, sourced locally from natural bush areas in the Waikato region. Ecosourced plants help to retain the special natural character of the plant by avoiding cross-breeding with plants foreign to the area. In addition, ecosourced plants are well adapted for the climate and soils of this area and will generally do better, flowering and fruiting more.
Check out our information on native plants.
Watch out for invasive plant species. Invasive plant species are plants that are introduced into new areas. This means they no longer face their natural enemies or competition from their place of origin, which allows them to spread or reproduce prolifically. Invasive plant species can significantly change ecosystems, upsetting the ecological balance, and potentially cause economic harm to Waikato’s agricultural and environmental areas.
Check out our information on plant pests.