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Thursday, January 14, 2010

The cold and wildlife

I'm sure we are all aware that the cold snap has a devastating impact on our wildlife.

According to Stephen Moss more small birds will survive this cold spell because more people are feeding birds now. Still this will see big falls in a number of species e.g. Goldcrest.

Waterbirds are having a mixed experience. Plump birds like ducks, geese and swans can cope pretty well with ice and snow. But the skinny ones like like herons, bitterns, kingfishers, water rails and snipe are having a hard time.

Moss reports that there are hardly any lapwings remain in East Anglia and little egrets have headed to the coast or across to western France.

Of course history teaches us that the populations of most smaller birds will return to normal within a few years but rare birds like the Dartford Warlber could be devastated.

However it is not just on land that the cold is having an impact at sea. Thousands of dead crabs have been washed up on Kent's beaches.


Anonymous said...

Have been wondering what we would offer our snipe if it came back? Today a blackbird was happily at work digging under dead leaves for grubs after the snow melted.

Pete said...

well they eat "Small invertebrates, including worms and insect larvae."

meal worms I suppose would go down well.

Jan said...

I was upset to hear on that Snow Watch prog the other night that something like 70% of Blue Tits don't make it through a normal winter and that this year, it could be 90%. That's just awful. Despite spending more money than I dare to think about feeding the birds so far, I've already had a dead Dunnock in the garden, and nursed a sickly Robin indoors for a day (not Frank thank God) but he didn't make it either. Had to bring him in because another one was trying to finish him off in front of me. Nature is very cruel.