WITH snowy scenes blanketing the county, Worcestershire Wildlife Trust is encouraging residents to give wildlife a helping hand this winter.

People are urged to put out food to help struggling wildlife as resources get harder to find in bad weather.

Steve Bloomfield, conservation officer for the Wildlife Trust, said: “Plummeting temperatures and heavy snowfall can cause real problems.

“What’s left of dwindling natural food supplies suddenly becomes hard to get to – birds can’t penetrate the soil to reach worms and other invertebrates and frosts will begin to rot any berries left on our trees and shrubs.

“It’s really important to help out birds and other wildlife – putting out high-fat foods such as suet balls, sunflower hearts and peanuts along with seed mixes will really help.”

Food does not have to be specifically bought for wildlife – birds will take cooked rice, cheese, uncooked porridge oats, dried fruit and even dog or cat food.

Do not, however, put out cooking fat or other vegetable oils or margarine which can be easily smeared onto the birds feathers and hamper their flying ability and waterproof capability.

Steve added: “There’s a huge range of bird food available out there but we’d recommend buying a good quality bag of mixed seed.

“Many seed mixes include a high portion of corn – great for poultry and pheasants but not so great for our commoner garden visitors such as blue and great tits, house sparrows and the like.

He said putting out nyger seed may encourage colourful goldfinches or even elusive redpolls.

And he added: “Good quality bird food is available from many garden centres as well as specialist suppliers.

“We sell bird seed from our headquarters at Lower Smite Farm and through a number of our supporter groups to help raise much-needed funds for our conservation work throughout the county.”

The Trust’s seed comes from wildlife-friendly Vine House Farm in Lincolnshire and for every sale to a Worcestershire address the farm donates five per cent of the total spend to Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.

For more information on buying bird food visit www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk/other-ways-to-help or call 01905 754919 - and for information about Vine House Farm visit website www.vinehousefarm.co.uk