January has seemed to go on forever! It is my least favourite month, though I did see some great wildlife including some I’ve not seen before. I am so happy to be writing about February wildlife to spot in the UK. In my ‘wildlife to spot in the UK’ series, a few months are missing. I think February, June and September so look forward to those!
I loved the Big Garden Birdwatch too, which was from the 26th to the 28th of January. In the last few years that I have done the birdwatch, a jay and long-tailed tits have always appeared during the hour. It’s funny that they always appear, and this year was the same! My highlights were spotting 9 goldfinches and 2 long-tailed tits which are my favourite. I think there is still time to submit your recordings if you haven’t already.
February wildlife to spot in the UK
There are lots of garden birds to spot in February. I often find that the peak variety of birds in my garden is during the Big Garden Birdwatch, at the end of January. As it approaches spring, garden birds are looking for a place to nest and breed. I always hope that a Blue Tit couple will decide to go in our nest box, but that never seems to happen. Maybe this year?!
Related post: 10 ways to attract garden wildlife
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)
The Long-tailed Tit is my favourite bird, maybe because they do everything together as a family. It is so heartwarming watching them fly around in the garden together! They have a clutch between 8 and 12 eggs, this is due to only a few surviving. Long-tailed Tits only weigh about 10g, and their tail is longer than their body (hence the name). Their long tail creates a sort of bouncy flight. These birds are black, and white and have a gorgeous blush tinge to their white belly fur. The Long-tailed Tit’s preferred diet is insects, but will sometimes eat seeds in the autumn and winter months. You can spot them in woodland, gardens, heathland, farmland, urban and suburban habitats.
Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Blackbirds are a very common garden bird and one that can be spotted all year round. The male blackbird is black with an orange beak whereas the female is brown with spots on its tummy and a brownish grey beak. Blackbirds have a varied diet consisting of insects, worms, berries and fruit. They weigh about 90g and have a clutch size of 3 to 5. You can spot them in woodland, grassland, farmland, urban and suburban habitats.
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
The House Sparrow is listed as red, which means it is in severe decline. They are very chatty birds and have adapted to feed on scraps and rubbish humans leave out. This has meant that they have been able to colonise all over the world and they are listed as the least concern on the IUCN Red List. Whilst this is a good thing, the House Sparrow UK population has declined by 70% between 1977 and 2008.
Male House Sparrows have a grey cap, a black vertical stripe down their head and the start of their tummy, with brownish wings. It has a whiteish-grey bib with a white strip at the top. The bib size varies with age; so could help identify juveniles. The female is duller, being brown with a pale grey under. They mainly eat seeds, grains, nuts and scraps they forage. However, insects are a staple of House Sparrow chicks. Their clutch size is between two and five, and they can have up to three broods a year. The chicks fledge 14-16 days after hatching – a short time to learn how to fly! You can spot them in farmland, urban and suburban habitats.
Related post: 9 ways to be responsible when visiting nature reserves
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
I love spotting a blackcap in the garden, I managed to see a female and a male which was exciting. The male has a black cap and the female has a brown cap, so they are very easy to identify. Blackcaps used to just be a summer visitor, but with the increasing temperatures, they overwinter in the UK as well. Their preferred food is berries and insects, and only weigh 21g. They are found in farmland, woodland, urban and suburban areas.
Continue reading: February wildlife to spot in the UK
Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula)
I haven’t seen a Bullfinch in my garden before, but every time I see a male Chaffinch, I wonder if it is a dull bullfinch! It isn’t, but it would be exciting to have a new garden visitor. The male bullfinch has a bright reddish-pink belly which reaches halfway up its head. They have a black head and tail, with a grey back and white at the bottom of their body. The female bullfinch has the same pattern as the male, but its belly is a brownish-pink. A juvenile bullfinch has the same tail pattern, but its head and belly are brown.
Their preferred food is tree buds in the spring, but also eat seeds and the juveniles prefer insects. Bullfinches are found in woodland, farmland, urban and suburban areas. They have a clutch size of 4-5 eggs and weigh between 21-26g. You can see these birds all year round from January – December.
Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Robins are such an underrated bird, probably because you can see them pretty much anywhere. Lately, I have been watching two robins chase after each other on the fence in my garden. Unfortunately, they didn’t visit during my hour of the Big Garden Birdwatch! Everyone knows what a robin looks like, but in case you don’t know they are a mostly brown bird with a red breast and a white belly. Juvenile robins have brown wings and tail, but they do not have a red breast. Instead, their breast and belly is creamy with brown speckles and do not gain their infamous red breast until after their first moult.
Robins are very territorial, and they make themselves known with a loud song. They only weigh between 14-22g and eat a wide variety of food including insects, other invertebrates, seeds, worms and fruit. Robins nest earlier than most other birds and can start in January if the weather is mild. Though they do not lay eggs until April. These birds create their nests anywhere, though it has to be low or on the ground. They have clutch sizes of 5-6.
Other garden birds to spot in February:
- Blue Tit
- Great Tit
In February, bulbs planted in the autumn begin to blossom and I can’t wait! I planted some crocus bulbs in October and I have been watching them grow. I am always looking forward to seeing my tulips pop up, but I don’t think this will be until March or April as they have only just popped up. I think the deer may have had a few as snacks too, which is annoying.
Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis)
I have already spotted a few snowdrop plants blooming, but I am excited to see blankets of snowdrops! I often find these in the countryside and it looks just like snow. Snowdrops grow in most types of soil apart from very sandy or very wet soil. They prefer being next to deciduous trees and shrubs.
Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
Primrose is a common wildflower which can be seen as early as December until May. They are the caterpillar foodplant for the Duke of Burgundy butterfly, with the butterfly laying their eggs beneath the leaves. The plant favours woodland clearings, hedgerows and grassland areas. They are also found in gardens. Primrose flowers are mostly commonly a pale yellow but also come in a variety of colours including red, pink, blue, white and orange.
Other flowers to spot in February:
- Winter Aconites
Typically, butterflies are more common from March onwards but Peacock, Brimstone and Comma butterflies have been spotted. I have yet to see any, but maybe I will see some this month!
Which February wildlife are you looking forward to spotting?