The sun seems to be finally getting its hat on, or at least dusting it off. It might not be warm yet, but spring is definitely on its way. The birds are singing and the snowdrops are going strong, and daffodils and crocuses are poking their heads out. It’s a wonderful time of year!
March is a good time to be planting new shrubs and perennials which can provide food and shelter for a huge range of species. Try to chose a mix of varieties that will provide year round food for the birds. The nectar-rich flowers of buddleia will attract bumble bees and butterflies, and hawthorn will provide food for insects and berries for birds. Adding some climbers like honeysuckle could even attract bats. For more inspiration on what to plant, see Plants and Flowers.
Your lawn may now be shouting out for a trim. It can be tempting to make things look short and tidy, but remember that the longer you leave between the cuts, the more likely you are to get small plants like daisies, clover and dandelions which will all support more insects.
Hedgehogs and frogs
As it gets warmer, hedgehogs and frogs will be becoming active again after their hibernation. Hedgehogs will be hungry, so you can give them a helping hand by leaving food and water out for them. Meaty cat food is best – never put out bread and milk as it is bad for their tummies. Find out more about helping hedgehogs in our video here.
If you have a pond, you will probably start to notice frogspawn. It can be fascinating to observe the transformation from spawn to tadpole to frog. Check out our tips for your garden pond and our video on how to help reptiles and amphibians.
It’s also the time to stop pruning hedges, as this can disturb any birds that are already nesting. Early March is your very last chance to put up bird boxes, so if you haven’t done it already, get your skates on! Birds like to check out potential homes before settling in, but it’s worth putting them up even this late. Even if they don’t use them this year, they’ll have a nice earthy welcoming smell by next year so the birds may well decide to move in then. Have a look at our bird box article and video for more advice and inspiration. Keeping those bird feeders well topped up will provide birds with plenty of energy for nest building, you can find out more about what to feed here.
It’s a good idea to provide nesting material for the birds by placing tiny twigs, natural fibres and moss raked from your lawn in an easy access place, possibly near their feeder. Some birds will even use hair in their nest, so empty out your hairbrush, or indeed your dog’s hairbrush, and leave that out too! That way, on those windy March mornings when your friends comment that your hair looks like a bird’s nest, you can take pleasure in telling them that they are correct.