habitat for SF Wrens.

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oconnore51
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habitat for SF Wrens.

I heard and then found a number of Superb Wrens in the hedges of very manicured gardens, with a lot of grass that i would never have thought would be good habitat for little birds, but there they were, hidden in the dense foliage.

Woko
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Many years ago I saw Superb Fairy-wrens in a manicured hedge near Sydney's CBD. As far as I can remember there was no natural habitat nearby that they might have wandered from. They seemed quite out of place yet there they were in what was otherwise a quite sterile environment.

oconnore51
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Sounds exactly the same!

elizabeth

GregL
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I have lots of blue wrens, they like exotic shrubs and lawns. The nest low down in dense hedges, so I have to be careful pruning hedges. They like looking for worms and caterpillars in lawns, I get plenty of time to watch them jumping round my lawn. They also like to come round when we are digging in the garden, they go over the bare dug-up earth looking for worms. They have learnt to hang around my varendah at lunch time to scrounge crumbs from my sandwich, I am a bit of a messy eater.

oconnore51
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Thank you, I didn't know this about these birds.

elizabeth

Woko
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So how come there are no Superb Fairy-wrens in Adelaide where hedges, lawns & other exotic plants reign supreme?

GregL
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One simple answer Woko - cars. Small birds tend to live close to the ground so they don't survive well with traffic.

Also wrens need open spaces, I don't see them in the forest at my place. they need a mix of trees, shrubs and grassland so dense suburban development doesn't suit them, there just aren't enough open spaces. I have seen wrens in suburban areas but I think in the end the traffic gets them.

Woko
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But why are/were they seen in Sydney but not in Adelaide, Greg? Sydney has lots of cars, too. Perhaps the answer lies in Adelaide's drivers!

GregL
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Sydney is a big city, but in my experience there aren't many small birds left in the suburbs of Sydney. I can't speak for Adelaide, don't know it at all. I know that even in small towns like Bathurst you won't see many small birds.

Woko
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Big???? Horrificly humungous more like it.

Elizabeth, where did you unexpectedly see your Superb Fairy-wrens?

oconnore51
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I saw them in an inner west suburb Haberfield, but also on Thursday, in very treed suburbs in inner west that are close to work that is being  done by the Inner West Environment Group, of planting indigenous plants in land that was ceded back when they built the light rail.  I saw them in Bottle Brush trees which was very unusual I thought. 

elizabeth

Woko
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I note that Haberfiled abutts Sydney Harbour. Is there natural habitat in the Horbour's vicinity that would Harbour (so to speak) the Fairy-wrens? 

It's interesting that the work of the Inner West Environment Group is attracting Fairy-wrens. Does their revegetation work link with any nearby natural habitat?

GregL
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Most of my property is native bush but the wrens seem to prefer the exotic plantings. Most native birds prefer native bush, but some birds like magpies, currawongs, kookaburras and yellow faced honeyeaters prefer the exotics.

Winter Daize
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I'm in the Adelaide Hills. We have a brilliant photinia hedge.  We have wrens. I've never seen our wrens in the hedge, that's where the sparrows usually are.  I've only ever seen the wrens around the birdbath and on the grass.  We have lots of native shrubs in our garden as well and living next to a winter creek though.  Any time I've seen wrens when I go for a walk, they are usually hanging out in woodier shrubs, especially prickly ones, not often with exotics with thick, dense foliage.  Maybe it's about what's on offer and who else they are sharing the space with.

Woko
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Greg, what's your theory on why some bird species at your place prefer exotics to native plants?

When I see Black-shouldered Kites or Australian Kestrels in my neighbourhood they're over grazing land. I'd suggest that it's not exotic grasses they prefer but the open paddocks where they can more easily see their prey. So I'm wondering if there's something more complex at work where you live. For example, do the exotics where you live provide a habitat structure preferred by the bird species you mentioned. Or perhaps Winter Daize' notion has something to do with it.

GregL
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The whole question of what the wrens prefer is complex when you get down to the level of individual plants, and also the interactions with other birds. The wrens at my place never use the birdbath because it is dominated by other small birds. There are a lot of different small birds that compete at my place and wrens tend to be at the bottom of the pecking order, the little honeyeaters can be very agressive. Wrens do like spiky plants and we grow a lot of roses, then there are the weeds like blackberries and hawthorns.

Woko
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It seems the wrens use the plants which provide the most protection which, perhaps in the absence of prickly natives, happen to be the prickly exotics.  

Winter Daize
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I also noticed the wrens didn't like using the birdbath because of the other birds, so I put another shallow waterbowl only a metre away.  The wrens use that all the time. It's on top of a small table. They are always hopping around on the table and chairs and drinking from the bowl while the bigger birds stick to the birdbath. They were happy to share with the redbrowed finches but for some reason, they have disappeared from the garden this year.

oconnore51
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That's a great story!

elizabeth

Shirley Hardy
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I've had an influx of visits from the residential SF Wrens to my garden this summer. They come about 5-6 times a day actually. They hop around on the grass eating the bugs and then go to the bushes and small trees and forage through them for bugs. They seem to prefer 2cm+ tall grass over short mowed grass. I've noticed they are easily scared. Cars going passed makes them fly to the nearest dense bush. Bigger birds like Magpies also scares them but they seem to be fine in the company of house sparrows unless the sparrows chase them away. That's rare though. Someone walking their dog will make every bird, including magpies, scatter and fly away. The same with someone riding their horse nearby. 

The wrens here live/nest in a thicket of privet but this summer I've been watering the garden so insects are more abundant here than where they live in the creek across the road. Of all the plants in my garden they are attracted to the bottlebrushes, leptospermum or melaleucas the most and then the honeysuckle groundcover growing in and up the 2 bottlebrushes also where there's cacti. And then they go for cover in my unidentified shrub/tree which is NOT prickly at all but is dense with leaves. They hide in the densest part of my little garden, especially the males. And then, for shade cover, they seem to prefer the Fringed Wattle tree (only a few years old still and the size of a 7 foot tall shrub). 

There really isn't much dense plant material in the area for SF Wrens, just tiny pockets of the stuff here and there, several hundred metres or more apart actually. I'm surprised they still are here in town.

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

NateWinston
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Thanks for the informatiom, I was unaware of it.

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