Wild Bird Guide

It is such a pleasure to have the company of wild birds in your own garden, to enjoy their beauty, colour and song. Feeding birds is a simple way to increase the number of birds in your garden and provides entertainment for the whole family. It also provides a regular food source over the cold winter months when food can be scarce. Here's a guide to attracting birds to your backyard.

  • Download a printable PDF guide here

In addition to the enjoyment of having birds in your garden, many of them will search for common garden pests such as caterpillars and snails all year round. They will also help with pollination of plants in your garden. Both are fantastic benefits for all gardeners!

The species of birds that live in or visit your garden are determined by environmental and climatic factors. You can help entice birds to your garden by planting varieties of native plants like kowhai and flax which both attract tui and bellbirds.

Setting up bird-friendly facilities in your garden is a great first step to encouraging wild birds. Creating nesting sites, and providing food and water sources will all help attract birds into your backyard.

Wild birds eat a variety of food - some are mainly nectar feeders such as tui and bellbirds whereas others like fantails prefer insects and bugs. Other species like finches and sparrows are mainly seed eaters. In winter when natural food sources are low, most wild birds will eat seed.

Top Tips on feeding Wild Birds:

  • Birds are vulnerable on the ground so raised feeders are the safest solution.
  • Sturdy tree branches, or a specially designed hook or stake are the best options for hanging your feeder.
  • Ensure you keep the feeder topped up so birds know they can rely on it as a regular food source.
  • Birds feed most actively in the early morning, replenishing their energy after the night.
  • Regularly clean and dry your bird feeding station or feeder. Feeding food from unclean feeders may contribute to the spread of disease amongst wild birds.
  • Always keep food dry. Do not allow it to go mouldy as rotten food is potentially harmful to wild birds.
  • Some birds feed on nectar – use a nectar feeder with sugar water to attract them to your garden.

Tui Wild Bird Seed and Feeders

Tui Wild Bird Seed Mix and the Tui range of wild bird feeders are designed to tempt a variety of birds into your garden so you can enjoy the colour, song and beauty of New Zealand’s birds in your own backyard. All Tui feeders have a high quality construction, are weather resistant, easy to clean, and have a simple to fill design. To use, simply fill your feeder with Tui Wild Bird Seed Mix, and hang from a sturdy branch, high enough off the ground to avoid cats being an issue.

Tui Wild Bird Seed Mix is a tasty all natural mix, containing no artificial colours and flavours and suitable for use in feeders or scattered on the lawn. The mix contains a nutritious blend of mixed millet, radish, rape seed, wheat, barley, and sorghum.

Tui Nectar Feeder, is a specialist feeder for nectar feeding birds like tui and bellbirds. It is nice and bright like a nectar flower to attract the birds. Simply mix up a sugar solution by dissolving 100g (approx. ½ cup) of white sugar in 1 litre of warm water. Once that has cooled down pour into the feeder and hang in a tree.

Treat your backyard friends to a Tui Wild Bird Seed Bell. Providing an alternative to a feeder, it will give them days of entertainment and nutrition while using their natural pecking instincts to pull apart the bell.

Common New Zealand Birds

  • Blackbird
  • Tui
  • House sparrow
  • Chaffinch
  • Silvereye (or waxeye)
  • Fantail
  • Greenfinch
  • Goldfinch
  • Starling
  • Yellowhammer
  • Song thrush
  • Bellbird

PLANTING FOR BIRDS IN YOUR BACKYARD

Great plants for attracting birds into your backyard are:

  • Kowhai
  • Flax
  • Aristotelia Serrata
  • Astelia Banksii
  • Carpodetus Serratus
  • Clianthus Kaka Beak
  • Coprosma
  • Fuchsia
  • Leptospermum Scoparium
  • Libertia Grandiflora
  • Phormium
  • Pseudopanax Laetus
  • Grevillea

Get our guide to planting for the birds here >

Post a comment

Wild Bird Guide Comments

  • Can we purchase replacement tops for our Tui Nectar Feeders as the sun has made the plastic perish over time. The bottom part is still in good working order though so hate to waste it. These are the fest feeders we have ever had. Started with one and now have 4!

    Maria Jackson

    • Hi Maria, thank you for getting in touch with this feedback, it is much appreciated. Currently replacement tops for these feeders are not available but we will keep this feedback in mind and have passed this information on to our Quality Assurance and Product Development teams. Kind regards ^Tui Team

      Tui Team

    • Great! Hope to hear from your dev. team in the near future. Reduce reuse recycle.

      Maria Jackson

  • Hiya. We bought one of your tui feeders at Xmas time and have it put it up in our garden (in a high place). Unfortunately none of the tui's in our garden have noticed the feeder yet. Have you got any advice about how to attract tui's (or other birds) to the feeder?

    David

    • Hi David, thank you for getting in touch. We are sorry to hear you haven't had any luck so far with the Tui Nectar Feeder. We can confirm that this product does work and that we regularly get positive feedback about birds feeding from these nectar feeders, however it can take some time for birds to become aware of these as a food source and start to use them in the garden. How long this actually takes varies and will depend on things such as the type of birds that you have in your garden, the placement in the garden, the time of year and the other available food sources in the area. The native birds which typically use these nectar feeders are tui. If you already have tui around your garden there is a better chance of them identifying the nectar feeder as a food source and starting to use it. Placement of the feeder is important and should be somewhere that the birds would feed from a natural food source such as in a flowering tree. Please persevere with using the feeder, following the instructions for making up the sugar water solution. You could try putting a little honey around the feeding outlets to encourage birds to use the feeder which can be effective and when birds become aware of this food source they will start feeding from it. Kind regards ^Tui Team

      Tui Team

    • I placed orange quarters on the branch where I hang my Tui Nectar feeder. I also purchased Nectar powder and as advised by a local elderly gentleman I add 1 teaspoon of raspberry jam. Today I had six Tui at one time trying to feed off my nectar feeder. Hope this is helpful.

      Irene Deacon

    • Just paint part of the feeder RED - this attracts them to the feeder.

      Justin

  • Hi Tui, I have been feeding tui's the sugar solution in a nectar feeder but I only have 1 or 2 come to feed. A friend told me to put food colouring in the solution to attract more, is that true? And if so, what colour would you suggest? Thanks.

    Rachel

    • Hi Rachel, it is not necessary add food colouring to the sugar solution for the nectar feeders, there is no benefit in doing this. There is no evidence to suggest food colouring is harmful to birds, but the birds are attracted to the sugar solution, not the colour, and may even be wary of something different.

      Plant trees that attract nectar feeding birds to your garden to increase visits, such as bottlebrush (Callistomen), flax (Phormium), kowhai (Sophora), rewarewa (Knightia), pohutukawa (Metrosiderous), and one all time Tui (bird) favourite is Prunus campanulata, but this tree is classified as a pest in Northland as birds carry the seeds far and wide, they germinate very easily so can be invasive in our native forests.

      Please see the link from the Tui website for more information about planting for birds in the garden. https://tuigarden.co.nz/ideas-and-inspiration/planting-for-birds-in-your-garden/

      Regards, The Tui Team

      Tui Team

  • I have been feeding cooked brown rice to the birds in my garden - I have quite a following - they fly up to the windows when they see me in the morning. nothing too exotic just our common NZ garden dwellers although I hope to purchase a nectar feeder for the tuis

    Sheryl Day

  • Great products.

    Marian

  • Love getting your emails.

    Alma Bainbridge

  • Winter provides a great opportunity to enjoy the bird life in the garden. Our front garden becomes an open aviary; Wax Eyes, Tui, Blackbirds, Fantails, Bell Birds and the odd Sparrow. Provides great photographic fodder!

    Bill Sykes

  • Here in Christchurch it seems many fantail don't survive if we have a cold winter. What should we use to feed them?

    Laurie O'Neill

    • Hi Laurie, fantails are insect eaters, try leaving out fat up in a tree for them, this will help them through the winter.

      Lianne, Tui Team

  • If you make the fat balls in muffin pans you can add flax and sunflower seed. Hang in an old nylon mandarin bag from a coat hanger hook wound around a high limb. The birds, wax eyes and fantails especially, can cling to the nylon and feed through the holes. We have a cat and he can't reach them there.

    Patricia May Gustafson

    • Hi, how do you make fat balls for birds in winter?

      Jenny

    • Hi Jenny, here is a Bird Pudding recipe that can be hung in trees to encourage birds.

      Tui's Bird Pudding recipe

      1 cup of Tui Wildbird seed or a mix of linseed and sunflower seeds

      1 cup of kibbled grain (maize, wheat/buckwheat)

      1/2 cup coarse cornmeal (Polenta)

      1/2 cup rolled oats

      Add enough melted lard or vegetable fat to stir everything into a soft mix.

      Line a bowl (large enough to hold the mixture) with an old cloth or tea towel.

      Take a 50cm long piece of garden twine and tie one end of it to a 5cm long stick (an iceblock stick is ideal).

      Place the stick with the string attached, in the base of the cloth-lined bowl, leave the string hanging out of the bowl.

      Pour the mixture into the cloth-lined bowl and leave it to set.

      When the bird pudding is solid, lift it out of the bowl, peel off the cloth and hang it to the branch of a tree well out of reach of cats.

      Lianne, Tui Team

  • We are also enjoying the tui going for it in our Kaka Beak shrubs - real amazing how they land on a branch that droops way down yet they hang on, don't break the branch & do all the flowers with nectar.

    Tony Winter

  • Hi, I love having birds in my back yard but can someone please tell me how to stop them eating my fruit without having to cover all my trees with netting. Thanks.

    Gary Dyason

    • Hi Gary, this is a perennial problem, birds are important pollinators in the garden for many fruit trees, such as feijoas, but they also like to help themselves when the fruit ripens. A few things to try are feeding the birds in another area of the garden away from the fruit trees, they will get used to you putting food out for them in that spot and hopefully stay away from your fruit trees. Don't feed birds fruit that you grow in your own garden, for example, mandarin segments if you have mandarin trees. Place shiny objects in the tree that spin or twirl, such as tin foil pie dishes, humming tape, old CD's, spinning reflective rods or birds-eye scarers, owls and hawks also work - these will be available for purchasing on line or from farm merchants such as Fruit Fed. Place organza bags over the fruit to protect them, these can be purchased from garden centres and $2 shops. If space allows, plant enough trees to share with the birds, don't leave over-ripe or rotting fruit on the tree or on the ground. Good luck protecting your fruit trees this season.

      Lianne, Tui Team

  • I have a sugar bird feeder, painted red, plus fruit stand from Metalbird bottlebrush, freesias and I throw oats out for the birds I am yet to see any birds at either feeder. I do get Tui flying through the trees and the occasional wax eye. How much more enticement can I give the birds, they also get my grapes when in season.

    lilian

    • Hi Lillian, there are a few suggestions on our site from other members, such as feeding rice regularly, the birds learn to come if it is thrown at the same time every day. Placing fruit with the nectar feeder, one member suggested orange segments with the nectar feeder or on a feeding platform. Other than that, make sure the nectar feeder is away from the house and far enough away from movement by humans and animals as this might scare them away. Another person suggested purchasing bird nectar powder and mixing it in with a teaspoon of jam (strawberry, raspberry) and placing that near the nectar feeder. Make sure your nectar feeder is clean and that the sugar solution is the right ratio - half a cup of white sugar to 1 litre of water. Plant trees and shrubs that attract these birds, such as flax, kowhai, bottlebrush, pohutukawa and grevillea to name a few.

      Lianne, Tui Team