Is your property wildlife friendly?
The Gold Coast's urban areas provide habitat for hundreds of aquatic and terrestrial species. Backyard habitats, in urban areas, play a significant role in contributing to the city’s biodiversity. By giving some thought to the needs of native wildlife when landscaping your backyard you are likely to encourage and enjoy a much greater variety of native birds, mammals and other fauna.
It’s also worth thinking about the potential barriers and dangers to native animals living on your property or just moving through. Small changes could be a big help to a koala, platypus or sugar glider. Even if you think native animals are not present on your property, you may be surprised, as many species are nocturnal or not easily seen by a casual observer.
- If you have dogs or cats, be a responsible pet owner. If your pets are allowed to roam in bushland, they can take a heavy toll on native mammals, reptiles and birds. Koalas frequently enter suburban yards, where dog attack is one of the greatest causes of koala deaths.
- Obtain appropriate fencing. Grazing animals like horses, goats and cattle can also be destructive to the natural environment and should be excluded, by fencing, from sensitive areas. Inappropriately designed fences, however, can injure native animals, so take care in what you choose. Barbed wire fences and electric fences are generally not wildlife friendly.
- Have a wildlife friendly garden. Some native animals can drown in uncovered swimming pools but this may be prevented by providing a safety rope or plank as a means of exit. You can also minimise areas of lawn, bitumen and non-native vegetation as these areas are generally not wildlife friendly.
- Protect large, old trees. They often have nest hollows used by birds and mammals and other native wildlife. Even dead trees are often used for nesting or perching and should be left if they are not a safety concern. If you have no large, old trees, nest boxes suited to a range of different fauna species can be erected as a substitute.
- Retain as many features of the natural forest floor as possible. This includes logs, branches and leaf litter, which, apart from providing a home for many native animals, also slow rainwater runoff and reduce erosion.
- Feeding of wildlife can attract a limited variety of native animals to backyards but is this a good idea? Kookaburras, magpies and butcherbirds are sometimes fed meat, parrots are attracted to feeding trays with bird mix, while possums are partial to a piece of fruit. Processed foods like bread, however, can be very detrimental and should never be offered to native animals. A small and irregular amount of feeding does little harm, however a large range of native birds and other animals do not benefit from these types of food and may even be forced out of an area where the common aggressive species gather in large numbers to be fed. A better way to encourage wildlife is to provide natural food sources by planting native food trees and installing nest boxes and other habitat features where animals can find foraging sites, protection and shelter.
To find out more about biodiversity and actions you can take in your backyard, read our Backyard Biodiversity booklets.
Through the Conservation Partnerships program, the City can help you protect wildlife habitat on your private property, and restore bushland that has been cleared or disturbed.
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