Noisy Neighbours Can Be Useful
If you live in eastern Australia, chances are you're pretty familiar with this little troublemaker, the Noisy Miner. These birds can be raucous neighbours, but also helpful in your garden if they're given the chance.
You don't have to go far to find this backyard buddy. In fact, if you live in a suburban area, there's every chance that you have some outside right now.
As their name suggests, these troublemakers have a very loud call that sounds like a repetitive 'pwee, pwee, pwee'. When they want to warn others about possible dangers, their calls become even louder and higher pitched, creating quite a ruckus. While sometimes annoying for us, these guys are great little communicators and can quickly convey important information to the whole group, such as "Look out! A cat is coming!"
Noisy Miners have big appetites and will eat all sorts of food. While they are technically a type of honeyeater and love to eat nectar, they will also eat insects, frogs, lizards, seeds, fruit, and just about anything else. Their ability to eat so many different food sources may explain why they like living close to us in built up areas.
While the Noisy Miner can be a nuisance, they can also be a helper in the garden. These guys love to eat the little bugs and insects that get up to no good in your veggie garden.
Miners can show a lot of aggression towards other birds and will often try to chase them away. They also go after possums, hunting them out of tree hollows. You may even see miners mobbing pet cats by calling loudly and swooping them in groups. While these birds can be scary if you're a little finch or a small possum, the Noisy Miners are completely harmless to humans… only managing to steal the odd lunch.
Like a lot of things in life, it's important to have everything in moderation and to try to keep a good balance. That's why it's a great idea to encourage a large range of birds into your garden as well. As small birds are often the easiest for the Noisy Miners to target, why not create a garden that is more suited to little birds?
Small birds love plant diversity and a thick understorey as well as a canopy, whereas Noisy
Miners prefer open spaces and tall trees. Since Noisy Miners love wide-open spaces, the more
densely vegetated your backyard, the less likely they are claim the space for themselves. This gives other animals a chance to thrive in your backyard too.
Spikey bushes are great for deterring Miners and other aggressive birds and animals, while sheltering little buddies. Click here to find out some more great tips for encouraging small birds.
As Noisy Miners breed year-round, there are always little babies for you to enjoy. The babies are very fluffy and cute but they are just as noisy as their parents. They often demand food from any members of the Miner group that they see. Click to watch a video of a Noisy Miner youngster being fed. You will often see the babies huddled together on a branch trying to keep warm or just wanting a cuddle.
Noisy Miners are often confused with the Common or Indian Myna. The Noisy Miner is predominantly grey, and is a native to Australia. The Common Myna is a brown bird of about the same size, with a black head, and is an introduced species. Increasing the amount of dense understory plantings in your backyard will discourage both kinds of these noisy birds and provide better habitat smaller native birds. Click to watch a video about creating habitat to encourage small birds.
DID YOU KNOW
The Noisy Miner is a very communal, family orientated bird. The mother and father take turns rearing the chicks and very unusually, they get a lot of help from other males in their group. The chicks are spoilt rotten by their families sometimes getting up to 50 visits to the nest in one hour