A close-up of bluebells

Nature's Calendar: May

May is a busy time for nature, full of colour and life. Here’s what you might see this month...

Yellowhammer perched on a shrub

Yellowhammer

Most frequently spotted over farmland, woodland edges and other rural areas abundant in shrubbery, these birds are small but unmistakable. Males can often be seen perched atop hedges, announcing their presence with a well-known song that is often likened to “a-little-bit-of-bread-and-no-CHEESE!” 

A close-up of a swift's face surrounded by feathers

Swift

May marks the return of the swift, one of our most iconic summer migrants. A great time to see them is just before dusk, as they gather into ‘screaming parties’ and swoop low over rooftops and buildings near their nesting area to make contact with the rest of their colony. If you’d like to help swifts find a home near you, check out our guidance on making swifts welcome.

A skylark amongst grass

Skylark

The song of the skylark is truly a hallmark of spring. Although they are small and somewhat nondescript in appearance, their impressive voice allows their presence to be known and heard as they sing from high above their nesting grounds. Their sound is dynamic and varied, and they are also excellent mimics, often incorporating the calls of other farmland and wading species into their song.

Start your day with a difference

If you’ve never heard the dawn chorus, you’re in for a treat! Get up a little early, just this once, and join us live for International Dawn Chorus Day. We’ll bring you the best of birdsong from around the UK, and you don’t even need to get out of bed. Or why not make your day a bit special, and pop outside to experience it first-hand? If you’d rather have a lie-in, you can still catch up over breakfast…

A close-up of the back of a broad bodied chaser

Dragonflies and damselflies

May is a great time to look for dragonflies and damselflies as they emerge and take flight, so head to your nearest pond to see if you can spot them. Keep an eye out for species such as common darters, broad-bodied chasers (pictured) and common blue damselflies.

Close-up on the face of a single tadpole

Tadpoles

Frog and toad spawn are often laid during late February and March, so keep your eyes out for tadpoles in May. They will remain underwater for several months as they gradually develop into frogs, feasting on algae, plant matter and the occasional insect. At around 16 weeks from hatching, their legs will begin to form, followed by their arms and the absorption of their tails. Take a look at our wildlife pond guide to discover the benefits of water for wildlife.

Close-up of hawthorn flowers

Brilliant Blooms

Frequently dubbed the ‘Mayflower’, hawthorn's pale pink blossoms are widely regarded as a sign of spring turning into summer, and this staple hedgerow provides a great source of food and shelter for many of our wild species. Some other colourful flowers to look out for this month are bluebells, dog violets, and red campions.