Robins and Blackbirds build nests and lay eggs earlier than other birds, so they may even have young chicks by early spring. Others won’t start nesting until later in the season, and will then be joined by millions of migrant birds that arrive here from all around the world. This makes spring one of the most interesting times for garden birdwatching – spotting the comings and goings of summer migrants.
So, what visitors can you look out for?
Goldfinches are resident in the UK however many of our goldfinches migrate during winter as far south as Spain and return in the spring. A colourful little bird it is instantly noticeable by its yellow wing patch and bright red face. These gorgeous birds will visit bird tables and feeders for small seeds especially niger.
A very secretive bird but with a famous song. Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex are home to the largest number of nightingales in the UK. They are summer visitors and start arriving in April until September when they leave for warmer climates in Africa. Usually nesting in dense bushes and thickets you may catch a sighting in your garden if you have substantial hedgerows.
This is a regular garden bird throughout the year and feeds on insects and seeds. It can usually be seen foraging on the ground looking for insects, spiders, fruit, and berries.
The Blue Tit
One of our most colourful garden visitors. With its yellow, blue, white and green plumage, it is both vibrant and distinguishable. They are frequent visitors to parks, gardens and woodland all year round but spring is a great time of year to see them as they start nest building in late March. Will visit bird tables for wheat, seeds, insects and also peanut feeders.
This distinctive bird returns to the UK in April and May. A swift’s plumage looks all black but has a small pale patch on the throat, which is more noticeable in young birds. Usually travelling in groups they are very sociable birds and like to nest in nest boxes and small holes, it feeds on the wing, taking only insects from ground level to 1,000ft - so why not put up a nest box to increase your chances of them visiting your garden this spring.
During the breeding season, our garden birds use up a lot of energy defending their territory, building nests, laying eggs and finding food for hungry chicks. We can all help our feathered friends stay healthy at this time of year by keeping our feeders filled up with good quality bird food.