Angela Mahon, RSPB NI, writes: Enjoy Spring’s lovely soundtrack

Birdsong is one of the most uplifting sounds; it’s the soundtrack of spring and summer.

House sparrow Passer domesticus, young birds feeding on garden lawn.
House sparrow Passer domesticus, young birds feeding on garden lawn.

As the weather warms up, you’ll notice the birds becoming increasingly vocal as they tunefully sing to defend their territories and attract a mate.

Listen out for the nasal ‘weeeeuz’ of greenfinches, the loud high-pitched trill of wrens and the short sharp chirrups of house sparrows which chatter together in groups.

In our gardens and parks, if you watch carefully, you’ll likely spot birds scouting for the best nesting spots or carefully collecting strands of straw and natural materials to begin carefully constructing their intricate nests.

We can give the hard-working builders a helping hand, by placing pieces of plant material, such as grasses or bits of moss in a hanging plant basket or nearby bush for them to collect.

Across RSPB NI’s network of nature reserves, nature is all a flurry too.

Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to catch up with the new warden at Belfast’s Window on Wildlife and see first-hand some of the fantastic wildlife that calls this nature reserve home.

From inside the visitor centre, it’s still possible to hear the raucous ‘kree-aaa’ calls of the black-headed gulls as they squabble over the choice twigs and nesting spots.

Out on the still waters of the lagoon, colourful shelducks are easy to pick out amongst the flocks of ducks.

Shelducks have distinctive dark green heads and necks, red bills and a chestnut belly stripe.

They have begun their characteristic courtship displays, dipping their heads in a bobbing dance and chasing off rival males.

From the far bird hide, curlews can be spotted roosting at hide tide and if you listen closely, you might catch their whistling ‘cour-eee’ calls.

If you are feeling inspired to explore the great outdoors and experience nature’s dazzling displays for yourself, why not pop by Belfast’s Window on Wildlife for free as part of National Lottery Open Week from today until March 27, to say thank you for the £30 million raised for good causes every week by National Lottery players.

The National Lottery Open Week has returned for spring 2022, with special offers at participating venues, including Belfast’s Window on Wildlife.

Just bring along a National Lottery ticket or scratchcard to receive free entry and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.