Signs of spring on the way - here are our nature updates and book recommendations for February

Posted by Lydia Unwin on

Don't wait until spring has sprung to get outside and enjoy nature. Here are 5 signs of spring.
If you are curious to read more about British wildlife, we have a fantastic array of nature books to read and inspire you. 
The early bird may get the worm, but they also get the best places to nest. As days lengthen and we creep towards spring, blue tits are scouring gardens and parks for suitable places to bring up their brood. Blue tits are keen on nest boxes and have been known to investigate within minutes of a new one going up. Once they choose one, they make a small cup-shaped nest using moss and wool and can lay a clutch of up to 16 eggs.
When the temperature increases even slightly, frogs will emerge from hibernation. With warmer winters, look out for a sunny pond if we get a warm spell.
Some birds are getting ready for the mating season. On a still day the distinctive drum can be heard reverberating through the woods as the male makes it known that this is his patch. Females will start replying with their own drumming as the weather warms. It is the most numerous woodpecker in the UK.
Unlike other species of tit, the long-tailed tit rejects the shelter of nest boxes. Instead, they embark on a mission to build a cocoon like nest of true magnificence. The delicate bottle shaped structure takes up to a month to build, so work often begins in February to get it finished in time. First, they find a suitable bush or fork of a tree and then begin collecting moss. The outside is camouflaged using spiderwebs and lichen while inside up to a thousand feathers are used to create the kind of luxury woodpigeons can only dream of.
On the first sunny days at the end of winter bumblebees are being tempted out of hibernation. With the temperatures rising and the days getting longer, large queens take advantage of nectar from early flowers such as crocuses. They also start looking for spots to start a hive to raise the next generation. 
Merlin Unwin Books spring favourites: 

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