Every spring, our wildlife enquiries team hear many reports of weird and wonderful nests. The robin in this picture is nesting in a tool-tidy, but we've also had reports of a robin that nested on a kitchen shelf. One cheeky wren made a nest in the pocket of a dressing gown that was drying on a washing line.
Here we bring you some of our favourite wacky nests!
Nests in weird places…
Can you imagine a blackbird settling down in a moving bus?
How about great tits getting cosy in a cigarette bin?
If you think those locations seem weird, check out this video of a collared dove in a car wash, a pigeon in a ghost train and blue tits in a level crossing - nests don't get much more extreme than these!
Who needs twigs?
Why use twigs when you can use - well - almost anything else? Shakespeare knew his stuff when he warned 'when the kite builds, look to lesser linen,' in The Winter's Tale (Act 4, scene 3). Here we report on red kites using handbags, England flags, teabags and frilly knickers to liven up their abodes. Keep one eye on your washing!
Japan's crows seem to prefer a modern art approach to home decoration. They avoid the washing completely and go straight for the coat hangers. To me, it doesn't look like a comfy place to raise chicks at all!
We all make mistakes, and birds are no exception. Would you build a home and forget to include a front door? Worse still, when you realised your mistake, would you tear the whole thing down and start again? Here are some nests that went wrong...
Have you seen or heard of any nests in unusual places? Please sign up to our community and share your nest stories below.
BluebellsThere are bluebells galore at over twenty of our reserves. Come and lose yourself in a fragrant purple haze.
LambsDid you know we manage an organic farm at Lake Vyrnwy in Powys? Come and meet our newborn lambs at special events on the farm. Alternatively, go to Saltholme in Cleveland and meet our new Shetland lambs. I challenge you not to fall in love with these fluffy emblems of spring. Baaa!
BirdsongAs you may have noticed, birds are waking up early – so why not join them? We’re running dawn chorus events at Minsmere and Snape in Suffolk, and at Coombes Valley in Staffordshire. Find out more about birdsong and let us guide you through their melodies. Snape offers a fry-up afterwards.
If you’d rather avoid an early start, you can enjoy some fantastic birdsong on your own by taking a stroll around many of our reserves. Here are our top five to enjoy spring songs:
Top Lodge, Northamptonshire
Conwy, near Snowdonia
Insh Marshes, Highland
ButterfliesOn warm days there’s a good chance of seeing butterflies across the UK – here are our top spots for butterflies.
Natterjack toadsYou can usually find frogspawn in your local park or garden pond, but you don’t often get the chance to see or hear natterjack toads. They are rare in Britain, and very noisy – you can hear the males from several kilometres away! If you live in Dumfries and Galloway, Flintshire or Bedfordshire why not pop along to our reserves that have these special toads?
Black grouseLove is in the air. Now is the time when the males hit the dance floor and strut their funky stuff to woo the females. Corrimony in the Highlands are running black grouse safaris in May where you can get a glimpse into this usually hidden world. We’re also running a Date With Nature in North Wales in April and May, where you can join us for black grouse walks.
The clocks rolled forward this weekend giving us lighter evenings to look forward to, and the hope of warm summer weather to come. Unfortunately, it might also have caused you to feel a little like this grey seal this morning: sleepy and wanting to have another hour in bed!
For more cute nature and wildlife images, check out our picture library , RSPB Images.
I found this whopper of a pine cone while on a lunchtime walk round The Lodge last week.
It isn't very easy to see in this photo, but at around 25cm long, I think it'll take some beating to find a bigger one.
My challenge to you this weekend is to prove me wrong! Let me know how big yours is by leaving me a comment below.
And once you've found the biggest pine cone you can, why not turn it into a fine dining experience for your garden birds? Making a pine cone feeder couldn't be easier. Follow the simple steps below:
Now's a great time of year to take a walk in the woods. Trees are coming into leaf, blossom's busting out, there are lots of birds singing and nests being built. Spring's here - hooray!
The early part of spring is also your only chance to hear something rather special. This is the time when woodpeckers - both males and females - are 'drumming'. They don't sing like most birds, but a quick 'drum roll' is a good substitute to tell rivals who lives here. Choosing a rotten, hollow branch means the sound is amplified and can be heard a long way away.
How does a bird which bashes into a lump of wood repeatedly avoid damaging its brain? The answer lies within. A specially-shaped hinge between the front of skull and beak, combined with a shock-absorbing muscle, protects the bird's brain from the vibration.
Because the woodpecker's head moves in a straight line, its brain is protected from damage. The bird's relatively small head means it can get away with the immense impact when the beak hits the bark - at a force of more than 1,000 times gravity!
There are three species of woodpecker which breed in the UK: great spotted, lesser spotted and green. The great spotted woodpecker is the one you're most likely to hear in most parts of the UK (they've even colonised Ireland in recent years).
Lesser spotted woodpeckers are now pretty scarce in much of the country (we're working to find out why), and green woodpeckers rarely 'drum', preferring a loud, laughing call described as a 'yaffle' - Professor Yaffle from Bagpuss was a green woodpecker.
You can see and hear woodpeckers on lots of our nature reserves. If you're out and about, let me know if you hear any drummers in the woods!