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Before you even start choosing the plants, it’s important to do a bit of investigating in your neighbourhood first. Find out which birds live in your area. Although birds can fly long distances, they are bound by climate, terrain and altitude, by food and the availability of nesting sites.
Once you’ve done this you can make lists of suitable plants, with notes about what they offer and when, the height and width of each specimen, and probably most important of all, whether that type will like your particular climate. Local plants are always best as birds will recognise them immediately, but there are many other varieties that will thrive.
Allow yourself just one ‘proper’ tree – so that passing birds of prey and real tree-top specialists like the lovely Acacia Pied Barbet will have a vantage point from which to check out your little garden.
This could also encourage a couple of permanent residents to build their nests. Think carefully about the choice of this single tree. It must be considered a small tree, it must not have a wide spread, and preferably not a very dense crown as this will shade out the rest of your garden. It’s best to plant it on the western boundary so that the shade is cast onto your plants in the afternoon: a time when the sun is hottest.