Your Garden in January
After weeks of preparation the Christmas and New Year festivities have slipped by like a flock of foraging birds, leaving us to wonder whether we simply imagined all that noise and activity.
It’s a safe bet that the worst of the winter weather is probably ahead of us but March and the presence of spring – not to mention lighter evenings – are but a few weeks away. If you need proof, look around for the first snowdrops, scouting the way for the crocuses, celandines and primroses that wait behind them.
In fact on the first sunny day of the new year you can even hear the coming spring in the form of the Great Tit’s two-tone “tee-cher” song, another small but certain sign that the fresh green spring is driving the greyness of winter northwards. By the end of the month Dunnocks, Blackbirds and Song Thrushes will be joining in, along with the Robins which have sung all through even the darkest days of winter.
In milder parts of the country the last few days of the month may also see the first frogspawn of the season while practically anywhere can expect to hear the heavy buzz of newly emerged bumblebees hungrily seeking out early flowers. Spring is coming…
Things to do this month:
• Fresh water should always be available, particularly on cold days when natural supplies are frozen.
• Fat products are also vital, giving the birds the raw material to keep warm through the long, cold winter nights.
• If you still haven’t found time to empty your nest boxes January really is your last chance as the Wildlife & Countryside Act states that this should only be done between 1st August and 31st January. Don’t forget that birds could be using the box as a roost site so, if at all possible, this is a job for the middle of the day.
• Spare a little time to learn more about the wildlife visiting your garden or that you see on walks or your daily commute. Get a decent identification guide or a book that goes one stage further and tells you about the behaviour of the animals you are watching and, most importantly, give it time. Just fifteen minutes a day can provide lots of first-hand knowledge that soon builds into useful experience. .
• Ice and snow can disrupt the routine of wildlife as well as humans so look out for cold weather surprises. It might be an unusual garden visitor such as a Brambling or Siskin, perhaps the tracks of a fox, badger or deer on your lawn or something even stranger.
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