Big freeze concern over songbirds
Published 19/12/2010 | 17:35
The Robin redbreast, a traditional symbol of Christmas, is among several bird species in danger of "near extinction" if freezing weather continues to grip the country, a charity said.
SongBird Survival issued an urgent plea for people to help protect their favourite birds by putting food out for them.
"Some species may be in danger of near extinction as a result of the cold spell," the charity said.
According to SongBird Survival this winter draws parallels with the winter of 1963, when over 80% of the UK's wren population died.
They have set up a Twitter account called Saving SongBirds to encourage people to care for birds like robins, wrens, bullfinches, tree sparrows and song thrushes.
Recent figures show that over 60% of the country's songbirds have been wiped out in a generation.
Clive Sherwood, the chairman of SongBird Survival, said: "We wanted to reach a younger generation to make them aware of the massive problems facing songbirds this winter.
"The simple fact is that hard winters can have a greater effect than pesticides or any of the other actions of man on the numbers of songbirds.
"The smaller birds weigh only an ounce and they just cannot maintain their body heat. We would urge people to put out high calorie food for them."
In addition to the cold weather there is the increasing concern over the number of birds killed by record numbers of predators like, cats, sparrowhawks, crows, grey squirrels and foxes.