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Wildlife confused by unseasonably mild weather

3rd March 2012

Recent fluctuations in the British weather have resulted in winter thrushes extending their stays on Waitrose dairy farms this year.

It’s been caused by the unseasonably mild winter and spring-like days that have increased the availability of insect food for birds, as well as providing a bumper berry crop. Winter thrushes would normally move into gardens to find food during the winter but instead they have been able to find plenty of food available on the farms that are part of the Waitrose WildCare programme.

“I’ve noticed the birds staying on the farm throughout the winter,” comments one of the 60 Waitrose dairy farmers who supply essential Milk and Cream.

“I would normally expect to see a drop in bird numbers as they leave to visit gardens and parks in search of food. However, this year they have stayed throughout the winter, with on farm natural food supplies supporting the populations of winter thrushes that included redwings and fieldfares.”

Tim Oliver, who heads up the Waitrose WildCare programme comments. “We are seeing far more winter thrushes and typical ‘garden birds’ on the Waitrose dairy farms than we would usually expect at this time of year. The weather has also confused birds into thinking it’s time to start pairing up, resulting in unseasonal bird song.

“Although garden bird feeders have seen a considerable drop in visiting birds, there is no need to be unduly concerned. The birds are simply still in the countryside and finding their food elsewhere,” concludes Tim.

-ends-

Issued by Helen Harcombe, Pinstone Communications Ltd. Tel: 01568 617623 helen@pinstone.co.uk

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