The late wintry spell in eastern Europe isn't just causing problems for humans — bird experts say storks need a helping hand too.

The Romanian Ornithological Society on Wednesday issued advice on how people can help the stricken storks, who are returning to the country from their winter homes in Africa.

Spokesman Ovidiu Bufnila said people who find birds outside their nest should offer them morsels of fish and cubes of raw meat, or if they are unable to move, place them in a barn.

Some 4,000 to 5,000 pairs of storks nest in Romania in the warmer months, building their nests on telegraph poles. They begin to return in March. In the past few days, however, temperatures have plunged to below freezing, preventing some birds from completing their journeys.

"Storks need warm air currents to continue their migration," the society said.