Haven for rare birds in the middle of Toongabbie

A HAVEN for native birds to nest and forage for plant foods is underway in busy corridors at Old Toongabbie.

The species include Red-browed Finch, Blue Wrens, Grass Parrots and Spotted Pardalotes.

A group of artists volunteered to create the birds’ nesting places on Parramatta Council’s reserve land and aptly named it Gallery Gardens on Picasso Crescent, which incidentally runs along Renoir Street.

On Reynolds Park Playground at Chanel Street, existing trees are being rejuvenated with the sowing of native grass seeds on the ground and new shrubs’ plantings for birds regularly homing there.

“The recent rains had been really great. It helped us sow species of rare grasses, trees and seedlings at the Gallery Gardens,” said artist Simon Cook, of The Social Canvas.

“We’re planting shrubs and trees to provide protection, bird food and places for birds to rest and we know it will take years to get these plants growing densely to make it a habitat.

“But we have found that there are numerous native birds nesting around Old Toongabbie so we want to give them a safe home here.”

To carry on their bird refuge project, the artists were granted $18,000 from the Federal Community Environment Program, support from the Parramatta Council Bushcare Program and the NSW Government’s Greater Sydney Landcare Network Creating Canopies Program, and assistance to clean-up local waterways from Plastic-Free Parramatta.

The native tree seedlings are supplied by Kenthurst Undercover Nursery and Bunya Nursery.

Mr Cook said volunteers have planted hundreds of Bursaria and Melaleuca tree species and rare grass seeds scattered around eucalyptus trees and remnant native trees such as Cabbage Gums, Rough Bark Apples and Stringy Bark.

Recently, the clean-up along the banks of Toongabbie Creek that meander for about 10 kilometres from Parramatta through to parts of Girraween and Blacktown has collected more than 40 kilos of litter.

“Litter from people walking along the river, from domestic households and factories are washing down the creek from road gutters so it’s a massive issue though there has been improvement but the river is not clean enough,” Mr Cook said.

The artists’ bird haven project has been getting nods from locals but due to COVID-19 restrictions on group gatherings, Mr Cook said their tree planting and creek clean-up days have been limited to 10 participants.

Volunteers must be available on Sundays to get hands-on experience with cultivating native plants that protect and provide food for native birds, weeding and planting of the original seedlings to boost bird’s habitat.

To register as a volunteer, click http://www.bit.ly/SBHchanel for Chanel Street and for
Picasso Crescent http://www.bit.ly/SBHPicasso or email Simon Cook on: socialcanvas@spin.net.au.

By Elizabeth Frias

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