Page last updated at 10:39 GMT, Sunday, 10 January 2010

Russian swans given extra food

Warden feeding wild birds at Slimbridge
Wardens are giving the birds extra food every day during the cold snap

Hundreds of swans at a Gloucestershire nature reserve are being given extra food to help them cope with the cold.

Icy water and frozen ground at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) in Slimbridge have made it harder for the creatures to forage for food.

More than 300 Bewick swans from northern Russia have arrived and are being given an extra feed each day.

The swans are used to the cold but use their stop at Slimbridge to strengthen themselves for the long flight home.

Reserve warden, James Lees, said: "Normally we feed the swans three times a day but we took the decision to give them an extra feed a day as they would find it impossible to find their own food in these conditions.

"It is very rare that we will supplement the birds' diets with more food but because we have had such low temperatures over a long period of time we felt it necessary.

"This will enable them to return to their breeding grounds in good health ensuring they get the best breeding spots."

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