A local community group is creating an urban refuge for native birds through the help of a Green Adelaide Grassroots Grant. Find out about the refuge and how you can apply for a grant.

Striated pardalote
The tiny striated pardalote was a target species for this project.

The magnificent river red gum woodland found along the parks and reserves in the north-eastern suburb of Valley View – where Dry Creek flows, provides the ideal habitat for native birds, particularly three colourful ones, the purple-crowned lorikeet, musk lorikeet and striated pardalote.

In recent years, the clearing of woodland trees, and less available tree hollows – where birds love to nest, has led to a decline in the number of them found in the area.

Brenton in his role as volunteer for the Friends of Dry Creek Trail, knows just how important these three birds are in maintaining healthy trees and shrubs in the woodland, so he decided it was time to encourage them back to the area.

The group were successful in obtaining a Green Adelaide Grassroots Grant to purchase and install nesting boxes for the birds and begin to rewild the Dry Creek area.

Read on to learn about Brenton's Grassroots Grant story:

Musk lorikeet Currency Creek
A stunning musk lorikeet emerges from a tree hollow at Dry Creek.

Why is this project important?

Although these bird species are considered secure in South Australia, their decline in the suburb of Valley View has been observed by those who know the area well.

The birds are important to help keep the local trees and shrubs healthy. They do this by collecting insects from the native trees and shrubs and they also pollinate many of the myrtaceae family tree and shrub species found in the area.

How did the Grassroots Grant help?

The Grassroots Grant enabled Friends of Dry Creek Trail to purchase and install 40 nesting boxes in the river red gum woodland.

After much research into the different bird species and talking to the experts in nesting boxes – fauNature, it was decided to purchase 20 boxes for the lorikeets, and 20 boxes for the pardalotes, as they have a slightly different taste in, well...real estate.

The boxes were made to different dimensions to attract each type of bird and provide the cosiest home for them, to encourage nesting.

Striated pardalote nestling
A striated pardalote nestling. Photo: Martin Stokes.

With the support of their project partners, the cities of Port Adelaide Enfield and Salisbury, the nesting boxes were installed over a woodland area of 820 square metres in the Founders Reserve and Thomas Turner Reserve in Valley View.

Brenton said the grant helped them to create a sense of place and build on the great work of the friends group of planting natives to build up the butterfly population, and enhance biodiversity in the area.

He believes that this work has also helped them to tackle the pesky bugs that attract unwanted bees.

And speaking of bees...unfortunately this project hit a few hurdles when the newly installed nesting boxes were taken over by feral European honey bees, which are known to harass nesting birds.

However, they didn’t let this stop them from achieving their goals and the new nest boxes were quickly modified to make them less favourable to their unwanted intruders.

They increased the airflow through the boxes and covered the insides with sheet metal. This hiccup proved to be a valuable learning experience with some lessons learned for future projects.

How did the project improve the environment for the community?

While installing the nesting boxes, Brenton noticed quite a bit of interest from passers-by, who would often stop and ask questions about the nesting boxes and the species they were trying to attract.

After sharing some photos on social media, the Friends of Dry Creek Trail received positive comments from the community about the work being done to improve their local area.
Dry Creek Trail installing the nesting boxes
The Friends of the Dry Creek Trail volunteers installing the nesting boxes

In the future, they would like to involve the local schools, and encourage them to use this project to inspire learning about their local environment.

Interest has also been shown by a few curious birds, checking out the new digs! As nesting season had only just started when the boxes were installed, it may be a while yet before they settle in.

The Friends of Dry Creek Trail will keep an eye on the types of birds that take up residence over the next 12 months and this will help them decide on future nesting boxes and improvements for the next time around.

Apply for the next round of Grassroots Grants

Green Adelaide’s Grassroots Grants is an annual program that puts much needed funds into the hands of individuals and groups to help them transform their local environment.

Subscribe to the Green Adelaide monthly newsletter for the latest on these grants straight to your inbox.

Words of advice for future grant applicants

If you’re thinking of applying for a Grassroots Grant to improve your local environment, Brenton’s advice is to do your research, get to know your local area and the issues at hand.

If you would like to attract a certain species, first make sure they are suited to the local biodiversity of the area.

Consult the experts and the local councils as you will need their support along the way.

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