Now that we are likely to be in for a cold snap may I draw your attention to our garden visiting bird life. They burn up a lot of energy just to keep warm through the cold nights.

A big surprise is that unlike humans the birds want saturated fats and in fact can’t tolerate unsaturated ones like margarine.

It is not exactly straightforward what’s best for our feathered friends so it is worth finding out before spending anything.

The Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and the RSPB have given these links to advise on what food they actually need ( and

You may have noticed those suet balls which almost always come in plastic netting.

Small birds can get their feet caught in this so it is best to put the suet ball out without the netting.

The advice is that sunflower hearts or black sunflower seeds are eaten by the most bird species and that keeps things simple.

The more adventurous can try putting out live mealworms – robins and blackbirds love them.

And finally, although winter is agreed to be the most important time when birds need help they also need extra food through spring and summer too.

In the old days nuts and berries would hang on trees and bushes to be eaten through winter and spring but now in an urban environment we tend to tidy up leaving not a lot of edible vegetation around.

The countryside is little better, with removals of hedgerows and the application of pesticides, which although that in itself doesn’t kill birds it does remove the weeds and insects that they do eat.

Justin Kirby, Worcester Green Party/

RSPB and Worcestershire Wildlife Trust