Spring is a fantastic time of year. The days get longer and warmer, colour returns to the natural world and signs of new life are all around. For most animals, spring is a vital season. After surviving the hardships of winter, the favourable conditions mean it's time to turn their attentions towards raising their young.
We take a look at some of our favourite signs of spring's return below.
One of the earliest signs of spring is the return of birdsong. Throughout the winter, it is often only the solitary cry of the Robin that can be heard, but, as spring approaches, other species begin to find their voice. Learning to identify birds by their song is a great way to work out exactly how many species are visiting your garden.
Blossom and bloom
A truly iconic sign of spring is provided by the plant world. From daffodils to bluebells, the emergence of beautiful flowers is a sure sign that spring has arrived. Likewise, the blossoming of trees such as apple, cherry and hawthorn trees provides a classic spring scene.
Nothing quite says spring like the sight of lambs frolicking in the fields or the hungry chirping of chicks in a bird's nest. Across the animal kingdom, spring is the time that most species raise their young. Putting out food can play a big part in helping your local birds care for their family. Live food in particular can give a major boost, as the protein it provides is ideal for growing chicks. Keeping your feeders well stocked will also provide a useful source of nutrition for fledging birds that are getting used to life outside of the nest.
Mad March hares
Usually shy and reclusive, the Brown Hare shakes off its secretive nature for a short time in spring as the need to find a mate takes hold. In open fields across the country, hares can be seen 'boxing' at this time of year. This acrobatic exchange of blows is not actually competition between males as you might assume, but females fending off the unwanted attentions of amorous males. Mountain Hares, which are found in the upland parts of the northern UK, also engage in this behaviour. Did you know the Mountain Hare is the only native hare species in the UK? It's thought the Brown Hare was actually introduced by the Romans.
There are few better signs of spring than a busy bee going about its business from flower to flower. However, bee numbers have declined worryingly in the UK, which is a major cause of concern, as they play a key role in pollinating much of the food humans eat. Why not give bees a helping hand by providing them with a home in your garden?
Images from iStock/Award and iStock/fotokostic