In cold weather birds can’t find food and need to eat a high calorie diet just to stay alive overnight. Freezing conditions also mean they struggle to get water. So we can help by proving both.
An easy bird cake recipe is simply lard (not Trex or other non-lard substitutes) or suet, with dried fruit, chopped apple if you have it (we didn’t), crumbed up bread, and some bird seed. Just nead it into balls and put it somewhere it is accessible but sheltered from snow if possible.
Get out in the morning with your bird food asap as birds are starving hungry at first light. That also avoids feeding the rats overnight. Should you have any.
Water is just as important. Make it warm but not too hot.
You may also see some unusual birds in very cold conditions as they become bolder the hungrier they get. So feed the birds and you never know what you may see.We had a couple of Fieldfares in our garden yesterday, along with a lot of Blackbirds.
Remember also that February-March is the “hungry gap” when there is very little food available to birds anyway – no insects and most of the fruits, berries and seeds are long gone, so keep on feeding even if it warms up. It’s only when the leaves are back on the trees and insects start breeding and the soil is warm and moist enough for earthworms to be active that natural food becomes more plentiful.