Ah, Spring! The scent of the blossom, the call of the chiffchaff, the ring of the phone...
As one of the team answering Wildlife Enquiries from the public, the arrival of Spring brings up a whole new world of questions.
A very nice lady asked me if she should continue feeding birds now that the bad weather has gone. While it’s true that feeding garden birds is absolutely vital when conditions are cold, it’s also useful as a supplementary feeding source over the summer. If parent birds don’t have to travel so far to get food, they can spend more time ensuring that their brood thrives.
Just watch how many feeding trips a blue tit will make and you can see that it is spending a huge amount of energy just to keep going. When they have hungry chicks to feed with caterpillars, the adults will find a quick trip to the feeder is much more convenient than roaming around the garden looking for their own food.
Inside a blue tit's nest-box. So many wee chicks to feed!
(Remember not to use whole peanuts in feeders when chicks could be around as they will be too big to swallow).
As garden birds start to build their nests, callers often ask whether there is still time to prune their hedges without disturbing the birds.
It can be very tricky to tell where birds are nesting and I would say that in the majority of cases, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Hedges are a really valuable wildlife habitat, providing not just shelter but also sources of food for birds (insects in summer and berries in winter) and protection from predators.
And finally –
We always get calls asking us to identify birds over the phone.
I was delighted to be able to help a caller who had an unusual-looking sparrow that had been visiting her garden in recent days.
Often this can be a matter of an educated guess, but in this case the bird returned while I was still on the phone.
From her description, I was able to identify a chirpy male Reed Bunting – a lovely visitor!
A reed bunting singing his heart out at the RSPB Bempton Cliffs reserve