The Birds and Bees Business

As night temperatures rise and trees shoot their leaves the animal world wakes up to the business of Spring. They are programmed to procreate after all.

Once winter is over, sap starts to rise and the food chain is re-established. The air becomes busy with insects emerging from safe hiding places, along with hedgehogs, mice, snakes and stoats. Birdsong brightens the morning as birds call one another out.

Some species are non-selective, each spring brings any opportunistic passer-by whilst others partner up for life. The lifers can show real grief when left, and many pet geese bond with enamel buckets when their partner dies.

Survival is a numbers game yet there is a need to pick a provider too. David Attenborough and the BBC’s Natural History Unit have been educating and entertaining for decades with endless hours of captivating film. We are lucky to have a constant year round show of our own. Spring means live entertainment watching the feathered and furry pairing up on the cusp of reliable night time temperatures. It is nearly warm enough to consider nesting and resting, so all the competitive behaviour starts now. Hares are boxing in the meadows, deer bark in the park and the night air is noisy with owls calling.

The ditchwater is also warming and from no-where the fish have arrived. Tiny darting arrows of translucence, they are born from the mud and bask in the sun. Soon we can expect the annual cacophony from the frogs and toads, a racket which heralds the first flush of spawn into the ponds. We pray that no late frost kills it off ….

Oh and we check our wellington boots carefully each morning. For some reason toads love to overnight in rubber.