Watch out for new life in your garden, from nesting birds to darting dragonflies.
Nature is bursting with activity at this time of year.
The dawn chorus gets louder and earlier than ever as birds begin nesting and raising their chicks. And with flowers blooming and warmer days to enjoy, spring is the perfect time to watch out for the wonderful sights of the new season.
You can find out much more about our British birds and wildlife on the RSPB website. But here are just some of the signs of spring you could see in and around your garden, or outside space on your daily walk.
Signs of spring in your garden or the outside world
1. Birds nesting
Birds spend only a short time during the year making nests. They use an amazing variety of locations and materials, so keep a look out for them hard at work. And of course never disturb a nest.
Did you know?
- Ingenious chaffinches keep their nest secure by using sticky cobwebs to make pads on the branches. These form ‘anchors’.
- Long-tailed tits create a pouch-shaped home. It’s padded for comfort with as many as 2,000 feathers.
- Blackbirds and house martins use mud to make their nests
- Starlings love fresh cut green leaves. Nothing goes to waste.
2. Hedgehogs emerging
Hedgehogs emerge from hibernation around March/April and are on the hunt for food and water – they’ll have lost around a third of their weight during their long winter sleep. Put out a clean bowl of water, or a meat-based cat or dog food, to help them.
3. Migrant birds coming home
They’ve been wintering in sunnier countries, but many birds are now returning to the UK. You may well be able to admire swooping swifts in your garden, and look out for sand martins balancing on telephone wires. Listen, too for the nightingale’s chirping call.
4. Bats feasting
As dusk falls you may start to see bats coming out to feast on insects in your garden – a single pipistrelle bat can eat 3,000 gnats in one night!
5. Bluebells blooming
At this time of year they’re transforming brown, dormant ground into a woodland sea of blue.
6. Dragonflies hunting
The common darter dragonfly is a regular visitors to gardens. It will perching on vegetation, walls, fences, and even garden canes and washing lines, waiting to leap out at prey. And that means pretty much anything they can catch.
7. Toadlets emerging
If you have a pond in your garden, you may start to see tiny toadlets or froglets climbing out of the water. They love insect larvae, as well as spiders, slugs and worms. Create a true haven by making your garden as insect-friendly as possible. Allow leaves to dissolve into the ground rather than raking them up. You can also plant wildflowers, or build a bug hotel.
8. Bursting blossoms
Bees love the crab apple’s beautiful pink blossoms, while the cherry tree blossom holds both the male and reproductive parts in the same flower.
9. Dawn singing
From about March to July birds make an early start. They’re looking to defend their territories and attract a mate. The first birds start singing about an hour before sunrise. Skylarks, song thrushes, robins and blackbirds start off the choir. The early day is perfect for birds – it’s dim enough that predators can’t see them, and the still air can carry song about 20 times as far. There’s always the RSPB bird radio if you want to listen to birdsong throughout the day!
10. Grass snakes awakening
Grass snakes also start to wake up from hibernation around now to look for a mate, so you might see one in your garden or the local park as a signs of spring. The females will lay up to 40 eggs in places such as compost heaps, where the rotting vegetation can keep the eggs nice and warm. Be sure to check any piles in your garden before moving them.