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Birds dying as snow covers food supply, RSPB warns

PUBLISHED: 13:04 04 February 2009 | UPDATED: 14:01 05 October 2010

WILD birds are in danger of freezing or starving to death in London because of this week’s snow, the RSPB warned today. Now the society’s London Team has started a cold weather’ appeal urging householders to put out fatty scraps and water to help birds survive the bitter winter

WILD birds are in danger of freezing or starving to death in London because of this week’s snow, the RSPB warned today.

Now the society’s London Team has started a cold weather’ appeal urging householders to put out fatty scraps and water to help birds survive the bitter winter.

The heavy snowfall has covered food sources like seeds, berries and grubs, leaving birds struggling to feed themselves and keep warm, it warns.

“Food means more than just keeping the stomach full for a bird,” explains the RSPB’s Tim Webb. “It means maintaining body temperature to keep warm to survive another bitter night.

“Birds need energy from fat and protein, as well as clean, unfrozen water to drink.”

Birds can’t store fat like mammals, yet have a relatively high body temperature, he points out. Without food for energy, they die.

The snow may force some rural birds to seek food in built-up areas like London. Many migrate south along the Lea Valley into East London. Householders may spot unusual birds in their gardens foraging for berries and grubs.

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