The Ultimate Spring Recycling!
With Spring well and truly on us and the weather set to improve next week, it will be great to get out in the garden and out for some lovely Spring air. It’s a busy and important time of year for wildlife with nesting season in full flow.
One of my own pleasures is to watch the birds gathering up the hair from my german shepherd – the ultimate in reuse and recycle!!
Great tit in our garden collecting dog fur for nest building
This busy great tit wasted no time this morning – it warms my heart to think of a nest of chicks snuggling in to her fluff!
It got me thinking of the things I do, particularly in the spring to give the wildlife a helping hand and thought I would share some of them with you:
- First tip - well, it’s the animal fluff of course. Any of you with a dog, cat or pony or anything else (?!) that will be shedding their coat like crazy at this time of year can help with nest building material by leaving hair and fur on the ground, in bushes, or even in an old birdfeeder. I bet you it will all disappear pretty darn quick!
- If you are anything like me, you are always picking up litter when you are out and about! My pet hates are those plastic 6-pack drinks rings that are lethal for small mammals. Be extra vigilant at this time of year for pieces of string, bailing twine, plastic tape or thin strips and elastic bands. These will look extra tempting for nest building birds but can have devastating consequences if chicks get caught up in them in the nest.
- It’s a good idea to keep those bird feeders well stocked up as brooding parents are looking to keep their strength up and feed their chicks. Don’t forget to leave water out for them too!
- So, you may feel like spring cleaning the garden, but please don’t be hasty in cutting back hedges, brambles etc. Leave everything undisturbed until well after the nesting season. These habitats provide essential cover, shelter and food for birds, hedgehogs, small mammals and plenty of bugs.
- In fact - leave a wild area in your garden all year round, like a log pile and undergrowth to encourage spiders, beetles, worms and other food for birds. This will be great for hedgehogs too!
- Spring flowering plants give a valuable early source of nectar to insects but as your daffs and tulips start to wilt, don’t be too hasty to cut them back – leave them for a couple of months so that nutrients can be fed back into the bulbs and they will be stronger next year.
- Sow wild flower seeds in pots and spare ground. These will grow quickly and support pollinators throughout the year. Wild flower mixes can be picked up from lots of sources – I especially like the seedball mixes
Seedball wildflower mixes are super easy to grow
- Don’t spray or pull those dandelions!! They are one of the first sources of food for bees.
- Let your lawn grow wild. Who wants a bowling green anyway? Neat, short cut, weed free and fertilised lawns are pretty boring for wildlife. Sure they will still provide a feeding ground but do keep some weeds; clover is great as is dandelion and try and leave an area where the grass can grow long – it will become a haven for birds and insects and grass flowers look pretty too!
- We will soon start to see fledglings hopping about and may see them on their own on the ground. Remember that babies do not always need to be helped by us! Fledglings may spend a couple of weeks hopping around on the ground after leaving the nest and before flying. The parents will be close by keeping an eye on them. If the bird is obviously injured call your local wildlife rescue centre for advice first.
Fledgling blackbirds can spend a couple of weeks on the ground before flying. The parents will be keeping a close watch and feeding them during this time
Well, I think that’s it – wow, I didn’t think I would get to 10, and I could keep on going, but will just finish by saying enjoy the spring time and give a little bit of extra thought to the wildlife that has to share its space with us.