The phrase, 'turned life upside-down' has been used many times to describe how life has changed since the emergence of Covid-19. The impact on our lives has been profound, but since the implementation of the lockdown, we've all gained something - time. For many, this has laid heavily, whereas others have relished the opportunity to press the pause button on life and just stop for a while.

For those of us lucky enough to have a garden it has become something of a sanctuary, a place in which we can escape from the news and connect with the natural world and the sense of normality that it provides. Thankfully so far, the lockdown period has been blessed with mainly fine weather. And as this has also coincided with the peak time for bird activity, there is plenty to see. Pairing up, nest building and the feeding of this year's broods is all happening right now (assuming you're reading this in April or May).

If like me, you feed the birds all year round, you will get used to those that visit your feeders regularly. With busy lives, it's all too easy almost to overlook these visitors and to see the topping up of feeders as just another daily task. But with normal life now on hold, we have no excuse to stop and look, take notice of the birds and watch what they are doing. Watch them gather nesting materials and then dart off into a nearby hedge, tree or nest box. We have time to watch the bickering robins fight for territory and, maybe best of all, we have time to listen to the dawn chorus.

With minds fixed on the difficult situation we find ourselves in, it can be equally challenging to find the motivation and the inspiration to connect with the natural world, no matter how beneficial we know it to be. So if you find you need a little help may be taking part in something like The Wildlife Trusts 30 Days Wild challenge throughout June could be helpful? This will be the sixth year the charity has organised this event which is aimed to inspire people to reconnect with nature. If you visit you will find loads of information and an opportunity to sign up. It's an ideal way to give children something else to focus on whilst not at school.

Other organisations are doing similar things including the BTO who are currently offering free membership of their Garden BirdWatch project and, as with The Wildlife Trusts, there is a wealth of information on their website. Projects like this can help to provide the inspiration needed to, not only look but to take note of what is happening to the birds in your area.

The majority of us can see the wildlife in our area, but how often do we watch wildlife? We can learn so much from just watching to see what's happening around us. And if, as a result of the pandemic, more of us come away with a greater appreciation of the natural world, then maybe it offsets, in some small way, the devastation caused by this virus.

Enjoy the natural world but stay safe.

© Words & Pictures Phil Pickin

Editors notes: BTO GBW