Goldfinch | The RSPB

Nature’s Calendar: April

Spring has well and truly sprung. Mornings are filled with bird song and migrant birds arrive back on their territories ahead of a busy breeding season. Here are just a few things to look for.

Blue tit | The RSPB

Blue tit

Nesting is in full swing for most species but more so for the blue tit as these will be laying eggs and then feeding young towards the end of the month. You’ll know eggs have hatched as parents will be busy taking food into the nest box.


This month sees a whole range of migrant birds arrive back to breed but the most anticipated is the swallow. Listen out for their celebratory chatter overhead as they arrive back.


Cuckoo | The RSPB


Cuckoos are in steep decline but listen out through April as there is still a chance to hear this iconic bird. Named after its famous call although only the males shout ‘cuckoo'. Females make a bizarre bubbling sound usually when a male is nearby.

Cuckoo flower | The RSPB

Cuckoo flower/lady’s smock

This spring flower often grows in damp meadows and is a quintessential spring species. Its name cuckoo flower derives from the time of year it flowers but, of course, cuckoo used to be much more common. An alternative name is lady’s smock.



Orange-tip butterfly | The RSPB

Orange tip

Earlier in spring, we see species of butterfly that have overwintered but now look out for freshly emerging orange tips. Males have very distinctive orange tips to their wings but females are mostly white and could be confused with other species of white butterfly. Their foodplant is cuckoo flower so they are often seen together.

Slow worm | The RSPB

Slow worm

As days get warmer our reptiles get more active and one to look out for in the garden is the slow worm. It’s not a worm but a legless lizard and has devolved its legs. Look out for one warming up in a sunny spot or try popping down a small piece of felt, slate or tin near dense vegetation and they may use that as a warm refuge.

Pipistrelle bat | The RSPB


We won’t quite be expecting warm and balmy evenings but it’s certainly warm enough to tempt out bats at dusk to start feeding. Look high overhead for larger species such as serotine and noctule or in gardens for pipistrelles whizzing around catching insects.

April is a great month to get to grips with bird song ahead of international dawn chorus day on 2 May.


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