RSPB – Early Sunshine, is it Good for Nature?


Early sunshine may be making us all happy, but if the weather turns there’ll be nothing to smile about

  • Unseasonably warm weather linked to climate change
  • Weather is encouraging some birds to make nesting attempts, butterflies are starting to emerge and other animals like hedgehogs are coming out of hibernation too soon
  • Swallows and house martins have been spotted arriving back in the UK – more than a month early
  • The Met Office expects the mild conditions to continue for another week with unsettled, wet and windy weather to return after that.

The RSPB is warning that the unseasonably warm weather could lead to a crisis for nature – particularly if it turns cold again, as it did last year. If you remember the Beast from the East!

The charity has received a number of reports about birds attempting to nest and breed with early nesting attempts and in some cases even early young, with ducklings being spotted across the country.

Butterflies emerging, hedgehogs, reptiles and insects coming out of hibernation and even migrant birds like swallows and house martins appearing back in the country much earlier than they should.

I have just seen a bee this morning which made me think it was a little early for these just yet.

Martin Harper, the RSPB’s Director of Global Conservation, said:

“While the warm weather, bright sunshine and abundant sights and sounds of nature undoubtedly make us all feel better, they should also ring alarm bells.  The early signs of spring are likely down to climate change, which is bad news for us all.  As we expect the weather to return to temperatures more traditionally associated with this time of year – as they are forecast to – then there could be a real crisis for our birds, insects and other wildlife.”

Travelling ahead of the ‘Saharan plume’ many birds usually seen in spring are starting to arrive back in the UK after spending a warm winter in Africa.  The RSPB is already receiving reports of swallows and house martins being spotted in Cornwall, Devon and South Wales, weeks ahead of when they would usually be expected to be seen back in the UK.

RSPB’s Wildlife Team Say

Charlotte Ambrose from the RSPB’s Wildlife Team, said: “Birds rely on environmental cues such as temperature to know when to start making a nest and start breeding. Because of the extremely mild weather, some birds and other wildlife are starting early. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it may allow some birds to have an extra brood before the main breeding season starts, but if the weather changes back to more normal conditions, the birds may get caught out and struggle to find enough food for themselves and their young.

“If invertebrates emerge early they will be here when the early nesting birds and their chicks need them, but again a cold snap could mean they don’t survive. Any sudden bad weather can kill-off early flowering plants, which are a source of nectar for insects, meaning they will struggle to find enough food.”

What can we do to help?

While there isn’t a lot we can do to change the weather forecast, there are things we can do to help the wildlife in our gardens survive a cold snap, including putting out energy-rich foods like meal worms and fat balls, making sure there’s a supply of fresh water for drinking and bathing, providing nest boxes, and – a more long term solution – by planting pollen-rich flowers (the latter’s a more long-term solution).

Climate change is one of the biggest factors impacting nature in the UK. The average temperature in the UK during summer has increased by nearly 1°C since the 1980s – with 17 of the 18 warmest years occurring since the year 2001.

To find out more about the birds in your garden and what you can to do help, please visit the RSPB wesbite.

With all this in mind, I’m glad that we have recently added a Window Bird Feeder and will be sure to add water out in the garden too.

Bird & Wild are also working in partnership with the RSPB and donate 6% of all sales to them.

In the latest coffee review, Bird & Wild hit the top of the ratings table with a steamy 18 out of 20 for beans and ground coffee. This coffee has been shade-grown and is triply certified as Bird Friendly, Organic and Fairtrade to ensure that every cup brewed is environmentally-friendly.Bird & WIld Coffee Review by Family Clan

We have previously reviewed this coffee so if you would like to learn more Bird & Wild review.

Mummy H

We have not been paid for this post, we have shared this post with ideas on how you can help the wildlife near you. We should all do our bit to help.

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6 Thoughts to “RSPB – Early Sunshine, is it Good for Nature?”

  1. A S,Edinburgh

    Unseasonably warm weather always makes me a bit sad for exactly this reason. We must look after wildlife and look after each other, at the same time as making fighting climate change a political priority. These are great ideas for helping our environment close to home, thank you.

  2. debbieskerten

    it’s so sad to read this, but we all need to be reminded. We do our best in our garden making sure that there is food, fresh water and a bird bath for them. Many people forget how important a bird bath is. They need to clean their feathers and remove parasites.

  3. Elaine Shaw

    Love this article, so informative, and so important. I love the birds that visit my garden, and of course we try to help them along throughout each season, and hopefully make them feel welcome, by putting out fat balls and tit bits and hanging up bird feeders, after all they bring so much joy. I have also decided that I am going to use my old water fountain, that has recently, and very sadly stopped working, as a bird bath for them in another part of the garden, rather than just throwing it away. I am now off to read your post and review about the Bird & wild coffee, it sounds right up my street.

  4. Margaret Gallagher

    Climate change has such a massive impact on so many things – mass awareness is vital

  5. Susie Wilkinson

    I am reliably informed by my Dad that last year, having a late cold snap, ruined his apple crop as it killed off all of the blossom, the warm weather has brought it forward this year, so he’s hoping he’ll hang on to it this year!

  6. Susan B

    If we all do a little, I like to think it will help. I am currently doing some guerilla gardening in our car park in the hope that what I plant will attract wildlife. I don’t have a garden so will also try a window feeder, instead.

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