February is in full swing as the cold blue hue of winter skies are blown away by the oncoming summer’s breeze, a promise foretold, the earth is beginning to wake up again.
The sun is staying out that bit longer, the frost isn’t as thick, blanketing our great green grass, and the first signs of spring will begin to become visible in the next few weeks.
Although our winter in the Northern Hemisphere ends on the 20th of March, nature works within its own timescale. When the temperature bumps up even slightly, frogs (Rana temporaria) will begin to emerge from their hibernation and will begin as we do during Valentines, to look for love.
We may even see some early frogspawn by the end of the month!
Our Toads (Bufo Bufo) withal may want a bit more of a lie in and will hold out a little longer before coming out to greet us.
Never mind however, as we cast our eyes to the sky and watch workaholic woodpigeons nest for yet another month in our year.
While most other animals are doing their best to conserve their energy, these tenacious birds are feeding their chicks and flying high through the skies while we are all still wrapped up warm in bed.
They feed their young on a ‘milk’ that they make in their crops which allows them to feed their chicks throughout the year, as they aren’t reliant on food like caterpillars and grubs only available in summer and spring.
The only downside to their excellent efficiency is the quality of their work, due to their nests being remade twelve times a year, our woodpigeons don’t seem to be familiar with the phrase ‘quality over quantity’ and so their nests tend to be made up of just a beak full of twigs and not a lovely warm mossy nest much like the long-tailed tit’s.
These petite birds (Aegithalos caudatus) make the most beautiful nests in the entirety of the avian world. As we all know, masterpieces can’t be made overnight and so these little nests made up of thousands of feathers, flowers and moss are cocoons of warmth, sheltered in bushes and thickets, beginning to be made this very month!
A loved neighbour of our long-tailed tit is the house sparrow (Passer domesticus), a non-fussy eater and unlike many, live in harmony with other nested birds.
One nesting box is all that is necessary to attract a whole community of sparrows, chirping, eating, and drinking their way through your garden as happy as can be!
Their species are in serious decline however, so if their birdsong is ever to bless your ears just know, you are doing the animal kingdom a favour by inviting them into your home, thank you!
Here is to the start of February and a splendid spring to follow!