Isn't it a great time of year?

PUBLISHED: 11:56 05 May 2006 | UPDATED: 21:51 28 May 2010

The birds are singing, sweet-smelling blossom adorns the hedgerows and perfect, newly emerged butterflies are dashing around in the sunshine. Isn t it a great time of year? Have you seen your first baby birds yet? Greylag geese and mallards are fussing ar

The birds are singing, sweet-smelling blossom adorns the hedgerows and perfect, newly emerged butterflies are dashing around in the sunshine. Isn't it a great time of year?

Have you seen your first baby birds yet? Greylag geese and mallards are fussing around their fluffy offspring on the edges of waterways and the garden bird parade will be in full swing soon with blackbirds and thrushes revealing their newborns to the world.

Some birds form 'crèches' with their chicks and entrust their care to older, more experienced birds. This is the case with geese so don't be fooled into thinking that a pair has had a 'super brood'.

You should start seeing pipistrelle bats out and about at dusk again. They emerge to feed for a couple of hours before returning to their roost. A single pipistrelle bat can eat 3,000 gnats in a night.

It is a shame so many people view bats with such suspicion and don't like having them around, as they are fascinating creatures that are completely harmless to us. I don't think that the stories about 'blood-sucking' vampire bats (most of which are greatly exaggerated) and Count Dracula has done them any good whatsoever.

If you are lucky enough to have bats in your roof, outbuildings or any old trees you may have, then enjoy them and be proud of the fact that you are providing them with a valuable home.

On the subject of roofs, swifts are back now and will be seeking out nest sites in houses. They are actually very clean birds (they only build a very minimalist nest), so leaving a space for them to get in and out shouldn't cause you any inconvenience at all and you get the bonus of being able to watch one of our most spectacular birds on your own doorstep.

House martins don't nest inside houses but they do build their mud nests under the eaves. It is a source of great annoyance every year to see thoughtless people knocking down the nests of these lovely little birds, just because of a bit of mess. What a sad state of affairs.

If you have any neighbours that fall into this category, it is worth remembering (and pointing out to them) that it is a criminal offence to intentionally damage or destroy the active nest of any wild bird. Hopefully, this should stop them in their tracks and help our house martins out this year.

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