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Wild ideas for winter things to do

Things to see and do this winter. Fight off the winter blues and go wild despite the cold! There really is no excuse to stay indoors or to be bored once you've played with all your Christmas pressies - at this time of year there is still plenty happening in nature.

Winter wildlife to see

- Migrating birds. Birds don't just migrate away from Britain in the autumn to find warmer lands. Some also migrate to Britain in the winter in search of food. Look for thrushes - some of the blackbirds, song and mistle thrushes in your garden may not be the ones you saw in the summer. They could have come all the way from Russia! Fieldfares, redwings, waxwings and bramblings also turn up, sometimes aggressively guarding berry trees or fallen apples from other birds and protecting their stash!



- Spiders and webs. On cold and frosty mornings keep an eye out for spider webs sparkling with ice or dripping with dew. You might find more than you would expect!


- Nuts and berries. Many of the tastier fruits will have already been gobbled up by hungry animals, but there are still some to find. Rose hips, holly berries, hazelnuts and yew berries may still be spotted amongst the thickets. Sharp eyed wildlife detectives may even spot clumps of mistletoe high in the treetops.


- Early flowers. Towards the end of January you might find the first snowdrops pushing their way through the ground. Other early sprouters to look out for are crocuses and the yellow flowers of winter aconite.


  • Investigate - Record the date of the first flowers you find. Keep your notes in a safe place and have another go next year. Are plants flowering earlier or later each year, or do they always come up at the same time? 
Explore nature


- Do some garden bird-watching. This is a great time of year to spot a few unusual birds in the garden, and the perfect season to observe their behaviour. With all the leaves gone from the trees, you are more likely to get a good look at what they're doing, and you may even see species you never noticed before! Tiny brown birds like wrens and dunnocks stand out against the snow as they flit about. The birds are also hungry and find it hard to forage for food in the countryside, so they are more likely to be in the garden in cold weather to see if you've filled your feeders up!


  • Investigate - How many different types of bird can you see in the garden at once? Try doing an experiment by putting out many types of food and watching at different times of day. Which birds prefer peanuts? Do they prefer to eat in the morning or afternoon? Are they squabbling, or do lots of birds get on together?


- Find some footprints. If you are lucky enough to get snow this winter, why don't you use the opportunity to find out who lives near you. Can you tell a rabbit track from a pheasant? Which routes do the local cats use to get around? Can you find places where birds have been digging underneath to find food?


- Make a snow-animal. Everyone makes snowmen, but what about snow animals? Branches make very good deer antlers! What other natural items can you incorporate into a sculpture? Try to find a use for a pine cone, some stones, pieces of fallen bark or dried leaves.


Do stuff indoors


- Too cold to go outside? Try out some activity sheets to crack on with indoors: