I'm sure most of my readers do this anyway, but just in case any non birders or beginners are reading this – here are some tips for looking after birds in cold weather.
In these extreme conditions, many birds will die without our help. Many natural food sources and water supplies will be frozen solid. It doesn't matter if you don't have any bird seed right now. Here are some good food sources that most of us have in the kitchen cupboard for our feathered friends: apples, cores of apples, sultanas, currents, raisons (very popular with Robins), dried apricots chopped up small, oat flakes, muesli, brown bread, cheese (any going off a bit that you are about to throw), cooked rice, cooked potatoes in skins.
Water for drinking and bathing is vital – dig out an old enamel plate or bowl or even a plastic plant saucer to fill up daily – little tip, empty the water after dusk (birds will be roosting then and not drinking) to save you having to bash the solid lump of ice out in the morning and then simply fill up with water again!
Anyone at work thinking of throwing an apple or core into the bin or sandwich crusts? Please throw it out for the birds – they are relying on us! If you want to go a step further, pop into Wilkinsons, who have a good range of bird seed, fat balls, dried mealworms and lots of other goodies at cheap/reasonable prices OR go to Moulham and Hall (my mother has her bird seed delivered from here) at Heacham, Norfolk for a huge selection OR Titchwell RSPB, CleySpy at Glandford or by mail order: Garden Wildlife Direct.