Spring has arrived and with
luck you may see the first swallows and house martins in your
area. Many spring wildflowers are blooming this month including
cowslips, fritillaries and ladyís smock. Birds could be feeding
early nestlings, so look out for blue tits or great tits taking
insects into nest boxes for their young. They will still
visit your bird feeders for their own food from time to time
to keep their energy levels up at this busy time.
Young fledged blackbirds could be out of the nest. April is a
great month to get out and observe wildlife and the many
changes occurring now.
If you donít have a pond,
April isn't too late to consider making even a tiny one.
Most aquatic plants donít start to grow until the weather
warms up, so they are not available in Garden Centres earlier
than this. More information about making ponds and bog gardens
is available elsewhere on this website. If you have a bird
bath, keep it topped up with clean water daily.
Toads should be spawning, and
if you do have a new pond you may be tempted to import spawn
from other sources. It is far better to be patient and wait
for frogs, toads and newts to find your pond of their own
accord. Moving spawn from one pond to another is a major
cause of the spread of disease amongst amphibians and should
never be considered. You may on the other hand feel you have
too much spawn. Again there is no need to take spawn
elsewhere. Tadpoles have many predators and the excessive
numbers will soon disappear naturally.
As young birds leave
their nests, watch out for domestic cats. Some cats,
especially as they get older, give up hunting but an
efficient hunter may decimate the population of young birds in
your garden. If you own a cat, fit a bell or an electronic
warning device on its collar.
If you have a summer
meadow in the garden it can be given one last cut month along with
lawn areas if nothing is flowering yet. This helps to keep the grass a
little under control and can prevent it from getting long and
straggly early in the summer. Donít do this if your meadow
contains any spring flowering species such as cowslips.
This can be a peak time
for goldfinches in gardens. They will flock to a feeder full of nyjer seed
so make sure your feeders are well topped up. For other birds,
use a good quality seed mixture containing plenty of sunflower
hearts, fat blocks and peanuts in hanging feeders through the spring and
summer. These are high energy foods which birds appreciate at
this time of great activity.
Now spring has arrived
all sorts of wildlife friendly plants can be added to the
garden, although perennials are best planted in the autumn to
allow them to establish while the weather is wet. Be prepared
to mulch and water if you plant them now. Climbers can also
be planted this month. They will need careful attention in
dry weather especially if they are planted against a wall.
As long as the weather
is reasonable, you can think about sowing hardy annuals early
this month. These can be sown directly into spaces in borders
or on the allotment or in containers. English marigold is a
good choice, being easy to grow and a good bee attractant.
Other good wildlife attracting plants are recommended
elsewhere on this website.