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Spring is a time for new life. It is a time when you will see birds nesting, frogs laying frogspawn in the ponds, lambs in the fields, plants growing flowers, butterflies fluttering by and many other animals making a home for their new family.
The life cycle of a bird
Birds need to find a mate - that's why they sing so beautifully at this time of year. The birds then need to find somewhere warm, safe and dry to make their nest - perhaps in your nest box where the female will lay her precious eggs! Here the eggs will be kept warm until the special day when they hatch. The baby chicks can look very ugly when they first hatch. The parents will have to keep them warm until their feathers grow. The parents also have to keep feeding the chicks so that they can grow and grow until they are big enough to look after themselves.
There once was an ugly duckling
Life for young chicks is not always easy!
I guess that you may know the story of the Ugly Duckling who grew up to be the most beautiful Swan. The young birds, called juveniles, often look very different to their parents. They have a lot of growing to do - they have to put on weight, grow feathers and find food. Below are some photos of juveniles - can you guess the species from the list of names?
Ducks and wader chicks are very brave very early in their life. They leave the nest as soon as they can after hatching. They do this to move away from predators (foxes, weasels, snakes, owls and hawks) that will eat the ducklings if they find them on the river bank.
But do not worry. Garden birds and the chicks in your bird boxes do not have to leave home immediately. Instead Blue Tits, Great Tits, Robins and Blackbirds will stay in their well-hidden nests until they are nearly as big as their parents and can flap and fly.
The life cycle of the Amazing Swallow
Barn Swallows are amazing birds that migrate to warm places (Africa and India) in the winter and return to the United Kingdom to breed in the later spring. Each year a pair of adult swallows will raise 2 to 3 broods each containing 4 to 6 eggs before they migrate again some time between August and October.
Eggs (top) Juvenile Birds (Middle) Barn Swallow (Bottom)