“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” Edith Sitwell
The days are slowing getting longer but it’s been a cold, wet and windy year so far. You can be reassured that we are days or weeks away from sunshine and all the delights of spring. The wintry weather has no doubt been hard for wildlife, but they all need to survive for breeding season.
Wild flowers begin to appear now. First come the clusters of snowdrop and snowflake flowers along with celandines on the forest floor. Early daffodils are everywhere and catkins and buds begin to emerge by the end of the month.
There is a fair chance of spotting badgers at this time of year. They don’t hibernate but will opt to stay underground on wet or cold days. Early mornings and before dusk are the best times to see them. Look for tufts of dark bristly hair that may have caught on fences or in the undergrowth. Scratch marks on the bark may also be visible, where they clean their claws. This is the period when cubs are born but they stay deep underground until April or May.
Now is a great time to start feeding the birds if you can. Small birds need to eat a quarter of their bodyweight daily in order to survive. The Natural History Museum site shows you how to make a bird feeder here;
Peanuts and sunflowers are a good source of fats and it’s easy to make a block of bird food from suet or peanut butter, seed and whole nuts. The Eden Project also has some great ideas;
Great tits and sparrows have visited my bird table, also quite a few large starlings that tend to squawk and scare them away. It’s difficult to believe that these are the same birds that swoop and dive in a vast, shimmering murmuration. Starlings move in these shape-shifting clouds before dusk and roost at night in a large flock. These displays will go on into March or April so make the most of their majestic spectacle and check out information on this website. Starling Murmuration Location Map (starlingsintheuk.co.uk)