8th January 2010
While it's making things difficult for many of us, the extreme cold weather is proving fatal for much of our wildlife. Birds and mammals always struggle to find food in the snow, but over the past few weeks wildfowl have been particularly hard hit.
With temperatures down to minus twenty in some places their roosting sites have been frozen solid, and their natural food has been under thick ice.
For the first time in 13 years in Scotland, and for the first time ever in Northern Ireland, the freezing conditions have led to a temporary ban on the shooting of wildfowl. In England and Wales it's possible that the continuing cold weather will lead to a call for voluntary restraint in the shooting of ducks, geese and wading birds.
The photos above, kindly sent in by Jim Duncan, show a few of the casualties on Loch Lomond and the River Leven at Balloch.
You can help to improve the survival prospects of your local wildfowl by providing seeds, grain and special duck and swan pellet food (available from many pet stores).
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