Firstly, as I sit writing this on February 13th at 4.45, looking occasionally out of the window at the blue sky, I'm reminded of the returning light and the oncoming of the season ahead. It's just now worth sowing seeds in warm greenhouses or on windowsills as the light levels are just long enough to stop the terrible legginess of seeds sown earlier in the year. A month ago it was pitch dark at this time , and the light returning makes us all brighter, gives a Spring to the step and purpose to our actions.
And then I remember that bird nesting season will be upon us any minute!! Birds will be gathering nesting material, making their nests and inhabiting nest boxes prior to getting down to the serious matter of mating and laying of eggs. Particularly in urban and peri-urban spaces where trees and hedging are often not available for nesting, bird boxes are vital to ensure successful families of a range of birds can mate and raise their chicks to a point where they can successfully fledge.
So this weekend get out into the garden and clean out your bird boxes, or add a new bird box to your garden. Remember when siting them that they need to be faced away from direct sun, and far enough up the tree or wall that they can't be got at by next doors cat!
And while you're looking at where to put some bird boxes, don't forget to clean out your bird feeders to stop diseases spreading and fill them up with new food.
A great way to begin a year of supporting wildlife in the garden, and a brilliant thing to do with the children on half term. And you could even get them bird boxes that can be painted to really get them involved. Then just sit back and watch those small feathered friends arrive.