We were very keen to attract as many birds as possible to our garden when we first moved to Broome permanently and water is the obvious first attraction. It’s is quite incredible how fast birds sense fresh water in your garden and you soon have a variety of visitors. Some will come in for a drink and leave, but others will come in for a serious bath. The smallest birds that come in are the Double-barred Finches and Yellow White-eyes and the largest are the Torresian Crows and Brown Goshawks. We then went looking for native plants that would attract birds as well. The local shire in recent years has established a lot of garden beds around town and they have also tried to use native plants. The main reason for them doing so is due to them needing very little water and they collect the seeds to establish more plants. The roundabouts-of which there are many-have been planted with attractive native plants, which add colour and a nice feature.
The best plants to attract Brown Honeyeaters and Singing Honeyeaters are the Grevillea Refracta, which flower all year round. The seeds fall to the ground and new seedlings sprout in the Wet Season rains. The Little Corellas feed on the seeds given half a chance!
The Little Friarbirds have a favourite plant and that is the Grevillea Pteridifolia. We have the prostrate species and it’s has long flowers flowing onto the garden, which they can easily access. It also flowers almost all year and is rather spectacular when it does.
Over the first few years we lost a couple of native plants to termites, but we finally had a Grevillea Robyn Gordon survive and it also attracts the Honeyeaters.
The Callistemon species of native plants are also good at attracting birds as they flower most of the year. We have the Callistemon Candy Pink, though it’s flowers do vary from pink through to red. It flowers best if it is pruned regularly. It is especially attractive to the honeyeaters.
Callistemon Candy Pink
All along the cliff tops of Roebuck Bay there are some native plants, which although they don’t seem to attract specific birds they do add colour. The Calytrix exstipulata is very tolerant to extreme weather and actually flourishes best in the direct sun.
There is one very useful group of plants to have in Broome, especially during the Wet Season. For most of the year you just have green leaves that look like onions, but once there is a drop in barometric pressure it all happens. These plants are more reliable than any weather forecast! If these Storm Lilies start to flower there is a very high chance of rain in the near future.
As you can see, there are some beautiful native plants here in the north-west of Australia and there is no need to fill your garden with palm trees!