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Spotting the animal signs of spring

Spotting the animal signs of spring. Images via Wikimedia Creative Commons.
Spotting the animal signs of spring. Images via Wikimedia Creative Commons.

The days are getting longer, the mornings and evenings are lighter, the temperature is warming up. Everywhere, life is beginning to bloom, from the blossom on the trees to the daffodils in the fields.

At this time of year it’s easy to spot the signs of spring in the trees and plants, but spotting birds and animals walking up and returning is a little trickier sometimes. You need to know what to look out for.

Frogspawn

Image creative commons by Tarquin  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frog#/media/File:Frogspawn_closeup.jpg
Image creative commons by Tarquin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frog#/media/File:Frogspawn_closeup.jpg

One of our favourite signs of spring is finding frogspawn in ponds and lakes and even, sometimes, large puddles! Frogspawn is the eggs of frogs and toads, and looks like little balls of jelly with a black dot in the middle. This black dot is what will become first a tiny tadpole, then over time a baby frog.

The transformation is amazing, and if you find a pond with frogspawn in it you should visit it often to see if you spot the tadpoles growing, hatching, then developing into frogs!

 

Queen bumblebee

Image creative commons by Tony Wills  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumblebee#/media/File:Bumblebee_05.JPG
Image creative commons by Tony Wills https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumblebee#/media/File:Bumblebee_05.JPG

Hello your highness! If you’ve spotted any bumblebees out and about in the warmer weather, then you’ve probably spotted a queen bee. These regal female bees have made it through a cold, hungry winter and are on the search for food in the form of nectar from all those spring flowers that have burst into bloom.

Once she’s satisfied her hunger, the queen will then begin to hunt for a safe place to build her new nest. She’ll start building a mound of pollen and wax, and lay her first brood of eggs. Once these hatch, she has the start of a hive!

There’s lots of brilliant information about the bumblebee lifecycle on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website.

 

Return of the birds

Image creative commons by Taco Meeuwsen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Song_thrush#/media/File:Song_Thrush_(Turdus_philomelos)_singing_in_tree.jpg
Image creative commons by Taco Meeuwsen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Song_thrush#/media/File:Song_Thrush_(Turdus_philomelos)_singing_in_tree.jpg

Listen out in the mornings and evenings and you’ll notice that the once again the birds are signing! Lots of birds return from more Southernly parts of the world in the spring now the temperature is warming up, and it’s them you’ll hear singing in the trees and hedgerows in the mornings.

The birds you hear in the morning are robins, chiffchaffs, blackbirds, skylarks and thrushes, and the RSPB has a wonderful explanation of why birds sing in the morning.

If you want to be able to identify a bird by its song, then have a look and a listen to this brilliant guide on the Wildlife Watch website. Its got recordings of many of the songbirds you’ll start to hear at this time of year, so soon you’ll be able to tell which bird is which even if you can’t see them!

 

Spring activities

If you’re looking for some activities to do while you’re out spotting spring, then have a look at our ‘What lives in forests‘ activity, and we LOVE the Springo Bingo game from the RSPB!

 

Useful links and more information

 

 

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