The RSPB have warned that many birds will not survive the winter without a little extra help. Ground-feeding birds are unable to find worms and insects when there is a snow covering, and berries are also harder to locate. Since bird lifespans aren’t very long, many will never has seen snow before, which must be very disorienting. Since small birds eat 40% of their own body weight every day, it only takes a couple of days for them to starve.
During the last really harsh winter in living memory, in 1962-63, it was estimated that half of all wild birds perished. So, there’s a conservation rescue effort to be mounted in your own back garden.
- If you have a bird table, make sure it is cleared of snow and well supplied with both food and water. If you have feeders, check them regularly, as there will be increased demand. Put out some high-energy foods such as sunflower seeds or sultanas.
- If you don’t have a bird table or feeders, spread an old cardboard box on top on the snow. I’ve put out a buffet of nuts and bread in a shoebox lid this morning, and there’s been a steady stream of visitors.