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3:02 PM   April 16, 2014
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Survival in the Snow


If you follow international weather news, you’ll know that the United States isn’t the only place hit by dramatically cold winter weather affecting various sectors (such as fish farms in Florida) of the pet industry. As Britain shivers through its coldest winter for at least 30 years, with the temperature plunging to a new record low of -22°C (-7.6°F), pet retailers have been recording a sustained increase in sales of wild bird food.

Even so, bird conservation groups fear that populations of some of the country’s most common garden birds, such as the robin--a popular subject on Christmas cards--will have been severely affected by the recent prolonged periods of sub-zero temperatures and snow cover that has made both food and water hard to find. The situation could worsen as well, with further outbreaks of snow forecast before the end of February.

The impact of the winter, so far, on the country’s avian population will be revealed shortly, as a result of the annual Big Garden Birdwatch, which took place during the last weekend in January. Members of the public count the different birds they see in their gardens for a period of an hour and the combined results give a snapshot of the overall numbers of particular species. Having been running for some 30 years, around 6 million birds are annually recorded during this survey.

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