July 27, 2017

Wildlife Garden in April

Now that April is upon us the weather should be starting to get a bit warmer and by this time of the year the nesting season is well under way. The adult birds will be starting to get more daring when it comes to finding grubs, insects and berries so that they can feed their fledglings.

The red fruited pyracanthas will now become particularly popular with blackbirds if they are not already stripped of berries. The white berries on the snowberry will be attractive to finches and robins. These berries do not just provide a food source as they also provide ideal shelter for young birds due to them being thick and rather thorny.

At this time of the year it is a good idea to keep feeders well stocked so that they can provide a food source for farmland birds and finches, which are common visitors to gardens. At this time of year it is a good idea to provide a supplementary food source for small birds.

When the sun starts to appear at this time of year it is common for people to want to get out and tidy up after the long winter months. However if it is possible to leave some areas undisturbed this will encourage wildlife. There may be birds nesting in shrubs and hedges therefore it is a good idea to wait until after nesting season has passed before you start to trim the hedges.

The plants that flower in spring offer a valuable early nectar for insects. This is a good time of year to concentrate on making improvements to the organic content and the soil structure around established shrubs, trees and perennials by spreading mulch. There are many different forms of mulch including cocoa shells and shredded bark both of which are readily available; or homemade compost could be used.

Ornamental cherry trees, flowering red currant and yellow forsythia will be a blaze of colour at this time of year especially in the southern parts of Britain. In the colder parts of the country these plants may still be dormant. Some of the native plants such as wild cherry and blackthorn will start to flower at this time of the month.

During the month of April the insects that you could find the garden include bumblebees, earwigs, honey bees, ladybirds, pond skaters, silvery moths, violet ground beetles and wasps. At this time of year there will also be a range of different species of butterflies which include holly blue, large white, orange tip, peacock, small tortoiseshell and speckled wood. The mammals that you may see in the garden at this time of year are badgers, grey squirrels, foxes, hedgehogs, rabbits, pipistrelle bats, moles and house mice. There are also some amphibians that can be seen during April and these are the common frog, common newt and the common toad. You may even be lucky enough to spot a slow worm (commonly called a grass snake).

If you currently have foliage from tulips and daffodils in your garden try and leave it for a couple of months after it finishes flowering as the nutrients can be fed back into the bulbs. When the leaves fade they can be tidied back by wrapping leaves around and tying them in a knot. The garden can be a great place for spotting wildlife at this time of year.

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