The Guardian live news blog has thrown up these interesting stats courtesy of B&Q today:
“3,000 sledges sold in the past week, grit sales up 1,224% on last November, coal, logs and kindling up 230%, shovels 216% and bird food 65%”.
That last figure is particularly good to see. With the media whipping themselves into a frenzy with the usual tales of commuter woe and so forth it is important to remember the effect this freezing weather could have on wildlife.
For birds in particular, this unexpectedly early cold spell could have dire consequences. There’s a chance that with food becoming scarce or inaccessible due to snow and heavy frosts some birds may head into the critical mid-winter period without having built up sufficient bodyweight to survive the prolonged low temperatures. But if you’re lucky enough to have a garden there’s plenty you can do to help our feathered friends.
- Put up a bird feeder- any decent DIY/Garden Centre should have them for sale. The RSPB also have some innovative (and squirrel proof) designs here.
- Easy to overook but birds need water too. Why not fill a container and leave it outside? Check daily to make sure it hasn't frozen solid!
- As for food, peanuts, seed mix and fat-balls (but not kitchen fat) all make good winter food for birds. Have a look here for some good, affordable, well-sourced mix. But don’t forget that household leftovers can work just as well. Uncooked porridge oats, soft fruits and grated cheese all make a tasty snack for a small bird!
- But best of all, why not make a bird food cake?! Yum!
Special prize for the first person to email me with a picture of a bird enjoying their homemade bird food cake!