January wildlife – Bird songs, nest boxes and winter woodland strolls

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January is reputedly the coldest month of the year. Although, with climate change, this is no longer always the case. Indeed, the beginning of 2023 seems positively mild by comparison to the past few years, and even the wildlife appears to be out of sync.

At BioScapes HQ, blackbirds have started to carve up territory and we’ve seen several males congregating around a single female, vying for her attention. Dunnock and Great tit are brightening days with their songs, and it seems mating and nesting are on the agenda, albeit much earlier than normal. Now is a good time to clean out your nest boxes, including those within your BioScapes unit.

We’ve designed the nesting site in our NatureArk® planter, specifically for Coal tits. Being closer to the ground makes it less attractive to Great and Blue tits who would, otherwise evict the Coal tits. 

Resist the temptation to tidy up the garden as branches, fallen leaves and other vegetation provide refuge for invertebrates and perhaps even amphibians or a hedgehog!

Take a stroll in woodland and you may glimpse a splash of colour. The rich butter-yellow of the winter aconite vibrant against the dark ground and, in southerly areas, even pale-yellow primroses reminding us of warmer months to come.

Do: Make sure nuts, seeds and fat balls are put out for small mammals and birds to access. Spend time observing these creatures at work. Coal tits with their soot-coloured head and bib are interesting little characters to study. They can be seen swiftly extracting a sunflower seed from the feeder and darting away just as quickly to either eat or hide it. This signature behaviour has its advantages; they can munch their way through their snack with limited disturbance and it also ensures that they have a nice stash of supplies for a rainy day, both literally and metaphorically.

Get involved: Join in with Big Garden Birdwatch https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/ and get to know your avian visitors whilst contributing to their conservation. 

Author: Terry Smithson BSc in Zoology, MSc in Ecology

Terry is our in-house ecologist. He’s worked in the nature conservation sector for over 25 years and loves all things wildlife, especially hoverflies, beetles, mammals and birds. He’s helped design our BioScapes products so they maximise the recovery of wildlife and he’s happy to offer advice to individuals, schools and businesses on how to boost biodiversity.

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