Make your garden friendlier for Superb Fairy-wrens
It seems unfair when one member of the family gets all the good looks, especially when it's the father. But that's how it is in families of the Superb Gairy-wren.
The dazzling blue plumage on a breeding male's head and neck and tail will catch your eye if you're lucky enough to have one in your area. These beautiful birds are not at all shy of humans and have been known to skip merrily among people sitting on a terrace or verandah.
Somewhere nearby will be a group of small brown birds. These are the mother, and 'stay at home' sons and daughters of previous broods.
These fascinating little families of birds may well be your neighbours. Keep an eye out for them in your backyard or local park.
How you can help Superb Fairy-wrens prosper in your area?
The family group guards a small-scale empire. Their territory will include a safe fortress of thick-growing shrubs, together with open areas such as lawns which are the rich food bowl for these birds. With a few simple changes, your backyard or park can become a better home for Superb Fairy-wrens.
What Superb Fairy-wrens like and dislike
Superb Fairy-wrens love:
- Protection from predators – thickets of shrubs, with prickly branches or leaves can provide the perfect place to retreat from danger.
- Safe nesting sites – they like to build a nest about 1.2 metes above the ground. The nesting site should be among tightly packed shrubs Eating garden insects. Grasshoppers are a favourite.
- Open areas of lawn or leaf litter, where insects live and breed, providing a ready food supply to fairy-wrens.
But they don't like:
- Cats, dogs and foxes, which can frighten or even attack them.
- Garden pesticides, which kill insects, leaving the fairy-wrens with not enough to eat.
Be a Superb Fairy-wren buddy
- Plant a corner of your garden with native shrubs, especially those with prickly leaves and branches.
- Keep a your pets indoors or install a cat enclosure or cat run so your cat can go outside without harming any birds.
- Plan your garden so that, over time, there is a variety of shrubs and open mulched areas or lawn.
- Using pesticides if Superb Fairy-wrens move into your garden.
Don't be surprised if:
- One colourful male is accompanied by a harem of brown birds. Those are actually juvenile males and females, together with his breeding partner.
A few more Superb Fairy-wren facts
- They are also known as Blue wrens.
- They live as a family group.
- Only the mother sits on the eggs. The others in the group feed and protect the nestlings once hatched, leaving the mother to lay up to three broods per season.
- Wrens have relatively weak powers of flight but long legs, so they spend most of their time on the ground or in shrubs, going in a series of hops as they gather food.
- They forage in groups - that way, insects disturbed by one bird may fall victim to another.
- Nest building is done entirely by the female in 3-4 days, using spiders' webs, fine twigs and grass then lined with wool, feathers or animal hair.