Heidi Padain: Entertainment in your garden

There’s nothing like the sight of a rat to turn the stomach but, hopefully, not this page.

Forgive me if you’re already aware, but this year is a mast year. In a ‘mast’ year, trees experience extremely heavy flowering, fruiting and seeding. Historically, this would trigger an abundance of food for native wildlife to make up for lean years. But now, mast events also boost rodent numbers and, in turn, stoat numbers.

This year has been labelled a ‘mega mast’ year because both beech and podocarp forests are masting at the same time across most of the country.

In short – when the seed or fruit is gone, the plague of predators turn to our native birds.

I recently learnt that stoats eat rats. That visual is making me feel a bit bonkers! I do not wish to see a plague of stoats! They’re terrifying. I recently watched a video of a stoat taking on a hawk! Stoats are fearless, and far more skilled at wiping out our native birds than rats are.

So, what’s the message I’m trying to convey. Do not leave food out overnight, especially seed. If you have feeding stations for birds in your garden, bring them in at night. In addition, no matter where you live, there are predators. Educate yourself on the many and varied traps available, and set some up on your property.

To soften the blow and encourage positive thoughts, I’ve included a lovely image of Mr and Mrs Tui. The first day of spring is 23 September. I’ve already got my traps set up. Perhaps, make this date a trapping deadline. We can all do our bit to protect the birds. (HEIDI PADAIN)

To see some of Heidi’s other photographic work, go to www.flickr.com and type Heidi Padain into the search box, or, you can contact Heidi by email hidihi@xtra.co.nz, or look her up on Facebook – Heidi Padain Photography.


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