We can make life for our birds a little easier by planting a selection of natives in our garden to provide a source of natural food, shelter from cats and other predators and safe resting and nesting sites for them.
When we think of ways to entice birds to our gardens we usually go for those plants with nectar-producing flowers but there are many birds that rely on different food sources.
So if you want to attract a variety of birds choose a mix of plants to provide nectar, seeds and fruit and plant many plants of a few species rather than a few plants of many different species.
Also choose plants of varying heights from ground level up to large shrubs and small trees depending on the size of your garden.
For nectarivores, the nectar-eating birds, banksias, callistemons, grevilleas, eucalypts, waratahs, kangaroo paws and some of the hakeas are excellent sources of this high energy food.
Although their diet primarily consists of nectar these birds also consume insects for their protein content.
Plants for the insectivores may include acacias, sweet bursaria, correas, hardenbergia, melaleucas and the many open, flat-petalled plants such as Leptospermum lanigerum.
Shrubs and trees with different types of bark are worth planting especially those with crevices or rough, flakey bark as they harbour insects and spiders.
Not all insects are attracted by flowers. Scale and aphids for example congregate on the leaves and stems of plants, sucking the sap out of them and in good weather their numbers can increase dramatically.
So what better way to control these pests than to have wrens, robins and pardalotes gobbling them up?
The seed-eating granivores like parrots, bronzewing pigeons and finches need seeds of various sizes so plant a range of native grasses like the clump-forming Stipa known as feather grass, Danthonia, wallaby grass and Themeda, kangaroo grass. These grasses also supply valuable nesting materials.
Plants of various sizes attract a range of birds to visit and stay a while in the garden with taller, open canopied species offering safe perches for timid birds that like to have a clear view of the surroundings.
In the taller size range Eucalyptus ovate and E. virminalis are good choices as is the low growing forms of E. leucoxylon, not only for their long flowering period and bountiful supply of nectar, but also for the shelter and nesting sites they offer.
Our feathered friends feel comfortable and secure in a garden that has a few plants with prickly foliage to use as a safe haven from predators. Prickly wattles, grevilleas and hakeas are perfect refuge plantings.
A reliable source of fresh, clean water is essential especially during the hot months.
Do not place water at ground level as cunning felines tend to lay in wait ready to pounce on unsuspecting birds as they land to drink, so suspend a container in an elevated position beyond the reach of cats.
Provide a safe environment and birds will reward you with their lovely songs.
April 3: Annual General Meeting of North-West Tasmanian Lilium Society at Penguin Baptist Centre, 130 Ironcliffe Road, 1pm. General meeting to follow.
April 6: North West Lilium Society Annual General Meeting, Penguin Baptist Centre, 130 Ironcliffe Road at 1pm followed by monthly general meeting.
April 17: The Australian Plants Society Tasmania Autumn Native Plant Sale, Max Fry Hall, Gorge Road, Trevallyn 10am.
April 17, 18: The Launceston Horticultural Society's Autumn Show at the Evandale Memorial Hall, Saturday 2pm-5pm, Sunday 9am-4pm.
April 20: Australian Plants Society Tasmania meeting, Max Fry Hall, 7.30pm. Keith and Sib Corbett to speak on 'The Establishment of the Tasmanian Bushland Garden'.