Lots of birds can be seen all year round in the UK, but as the days get warmer and longer into spring there is a buzz of activity from our feathered friends! At this time of year, it is the perfect time to hear the dawn chorus which happens alongside breeding and nest building. 

sparrow on a wood postYou’ll spot plenty of birds at all of our lakes but each offers something different - how many species can you count on your walk? 

You don’t need any specific skills to enjoy birdwatching, just some patience and some keen listening and watching! For some more specific tips for our lake habitats, take a look at our ‘Top tips for birdwatching’ post. If you’re new to bird identification, some key identification factors include size, colour, song and their habitat. The RSPB has a handy resource to help you identify which bird you’ve seen, click here for the guide.

We’ve put together two activities that you can do to get the whole family involved in spotting some feathered friends. First, a printable checklist which has some common birds you’ll be able to see around our lakes. Tick them off and see if you can spot them all! Click here to download a PDF of the spring explorer bird checklist.

How to make a bird feeder

As well as seeing birds around the lakes, you can also encourage birds into your own garden by making some homemade bird feeders using upcycled toilet rolls! They are really easy and make a great weekend afternoon activity. Here’s how:

Supplies and ingredients:chaffinch in a garden

  • String (optional)
  • Clean toilet paper tubes
  • Lard
  • Bird seed

*Avoid using turkey or chicken fat instead of lard, as this can stick to the bird's feathers and make it difficult for them to fly. 


  1. Spread the lard onto the tubes.
  2. Roll the tubes in the seed mix, making sure they are well covered and shake off any loose seeds.
  3. Thread the string through the tube and hang up in a tree or bush in your back garden. Alternatively, pop the tubes straight on a branch.
  4. Patiently wait and have fun watching the birds in your garden enjoy the tasty snack you’ve made!

Happy birdwatching and don’t forget to tag us in your wildlife spots @SWLakes and use our hashtag #ItsYourOutdoors.

chaffinch with some food in it's beak

Sparrow and chaffinch photos by Mike Pettett