General News

What do NZ birds like to eat?

We often get asked about what to feed birds. So here is a bit of info from Nicole of Sisterhouse Tree Earrings, that might be useful. It is based around the birds that visit Wellington gardens but should cover most you commonly see. Tui and Bellbirds or Koromiko mainly feed on nectar from many native and introduced plant species so will feed on sugar water from bird feeders. They also eat fruit and they glean invertebrates like insects and spiders.

Wax Eyes in Perch Pendant

If Hihi or Stitchbird visit, they feed on fruits and nectar but also on invertebrates.

Silver eye or Wax eye are omnivorous and feed on fruit and berries, nectar and a wide range of insects. They visit bird feeders more than any other species in NZ, where they eat fruit and voraciously feed on fat or lard, especially in winter.

Chaffinch come to the feeders for seed, cereal and fat especially in winter. They eat bugs, aphids, beetles, moths, cicadas and spiders. Chicks are fed almost entirely on invertebrates.

Yellowhammers eat the seed from grasses and also eat invertebrates. They will feed on seeds from bird feeders.

Green finches are mainly seed and cereals but again eat some invertebrates.

House sparrows feed on seeds and cereals, fruit and buds. Again a portion of their diet are invertebrates especially for the nestlings.

For Wellingtonians lucky enough to see Kaka in the garden its best to leave them to their natural diet of grubs, berries, seeds and the nectar of kowhai, rata and flax. Feeding kaka things like cheese, cake, chocolate and biscuits can affect the chicks. Some have been found with metabolic bone disease which is thought to be caused by an unhealthy sweet diet.

You would be very lucky to see Kakariki in Wellington but the eastern rosella parakeet are around and feed on seeds, fruit, flowers, buds and invertebrates.

Fantails are omnivorous and mostly hawk for invertebrates on the wing. They sometimes come to feeders for fruit.

For the Kereru, foods include the buds, leaves, flowers and fruits of introduced and native species, I have never seen them in bird feeders.

Starlings mostly feed on earthworms, caterpillars, beetles etc but do eat fruit and nectar. They take food scraps in towns and I have seen them at the bird feeders, especially when fat balls are on offer.

Blackbird in Perch Nectar Ring Red

Blackbirds like Starlings, forage on the ground and in leaf litter eating worms, slugs and snails and other insects and spiders. They eat fruit and berries and are often in the bird feeders, usually after the fat balls, I think.

My rule of thumb is fruit and nectar for the native birds and include fat for the Wax eyes. Seeds and cereal for the introduced birds. I like to feed them all.


See the full range at SisterhouseTreeEarrings or in our shop

General News, Latest News, Locally made pottery

We have moved to Aro Street

Phew! That was close. The afternoon before the Covid-19 Lockdown we finished moving into our new place at 93a Aro St. Aro Valley.

We had to scrub, clean, paint and move the entire shop in just four days.

This picture is just some of the South Coast Collective and Verdant team near the end of the last day. All of us looking pretty tired!

Janette, Rosey, Rowan and Demelza.
Janette, Rosey, Rowan and Demelza.

🙏🙏🙏I would like to thank everyone who helped out. I am really grateful for the help we received. Thank you especially to the following:

• Rosey from Rosemary O’Hara Pottery. She has been an absolute trooper for four long days scrubbing the floors, filling in holes, painting and making sure the painting actually got done properly. It’s been physically demanding.

Rosey at the very end of the day with her Pots behind her

•Rowan from Global Wood Rework for volunteering and painting the outside of the building, dismantling and lifting.

Rowan posing and painting

•John of Capital Blinds for just turning up in between jobs and dismantling everything at the old shop; especially our temperamental sign, which for a moment there I thought we were going to have to leave behind.

•Anthea of 29 native bees & Anthea Grob Clay, for looking after the kids on Tuesday when daycare closed with no notice, and helping shift and clean at both shops.

•David and Ryan of Burns Upholstery for turning up to do a load at the last minute, when I thought we weren’t going to make it in time.

And thanks to staff;

• Demelza has been amazing over the last four days, doing everything that needed doing with no complaints.

Janette & Demelza at the end Day 1 cleaning, scrubbing and painting

• Alex for just getting stuck in and packing anything that needed packing.

• Damian (the hubby) for his support, car loads and ensuring we still got fed, even though he had his own work stuff to organise in the craziness of the last 48 hours we had notice of the Lockdown.

And lastly the SCC & Verdant Team would also like to thank the Aro Valley community. We have had many people stop by (keeping their 2 metre distance) to say hello and welcome to the neighbourhood. That has really kept us going and feeling positive in these very trying times!

I am truely grateful and overwhelmed by the help and support. – Janette

Here’s what we did manage to set up:

The table we managed to set up before Lockdown
General News, Latest News, organic fabric

Furoshiki and Bojagi Cloth Wrapping and Japanese Paper Balloons for Plastic-Free-July

An awful lot of wrapping paper gets immediately trashed, and a lot of it contains plastics. A furoshiki cloth can be used for elegantly presenting a wide variety of sizes and shapes of gifts for many years, or whipped out and turned into a carry bag, in seconds. Many of us have heard of this cloth  wrapping tradition, but who knew it was so easy and fun. South Coast Collective team have become real enthusiasts of this traditional and eminently sensible practice.

There are a lot of plastic balloons that end up in the landfill and the ocean which become a threat to  ocean wildlife, chock-able and tangle-able. For plastic free July we have sourced from the only remaining manufacturer of these in Japan, colourful, re-useable paper balloons, that you blow up with a straw.

On any weekend in July, South Coast Collective are inviting the public to a free demonstration, of how to practice this traditional re-useable gift wrapping and instant carry-bag making. We will have a variety of cloths on hand, one of our team will demonstrate.  There will be a table for you to practice on and an instruction sheet for you to take away to practice and try out other wrapping ideas.

We’re open 9.30 to 4 Saturday and 10 to 1 on Sundays. Come in and learn the art of bag making and gift wrapping with a simple square of cloth, and never look back! All you need to make this change is a square of non slippery cloth (preferably organic cotton of course!)  and the know how to do one or two simple knots.