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Birds in a monsoon garden

March 21, 2010

What can you do to attract birds in your monsoon garden?

Today we had bird specialist Tony Ball at Dokmai Garden. We saw 35 species in three hours, of which six were new on our list. This was actually good, as we had a large group of joyful talkative visitors. We have now registered 70 species of wild birds at Dokmai Garden. 

It is too bad so few tourists come to Chiang Mai in March-April, which we call the “Wildflower Season”. In addition to many orchids and flamboyant native trees in blossom, this is also the best time for birds, as we still have the winter migrants, and the stationary species get more vocal as they prepare for the mating season.

In order to attract birds to your garden, you can plant bamboos which attract certain species like the white-rumped shama, fruit trees to provide food for a range of birds, nectar plants such as Hibiscus, Bombax and Punica for the sunbirds, shrubberies for the small birds that like protection, a pond for herons, ducks and water hens (and drinking water to any bird), a spray-free garden would allow insects for flycatchers and bee-eaters, large hollow trees would allow owls and rollers, open plains would attract larks and if you have a meadow with buffaloes you get the starlings and mynahs. The birds provide life and action in your garden, and ground dwelling birds like jungle fowl and pheasants help you to remove slugs, snails and young scorpions. We have Eurasian tree sparrows around our buildings, and for some time I have wished for a hawk to control the population. Well, this morning we could add the shikra to the list, a beautiful male hawk with a bluish back and pinkish breast. The Thai gardeners are  important for protecting the wild birds until the Thai farmers have abandoned bird hunting and forest fires.

The Olive-backed Sunbird nesting at Dokmai Garden

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