Helping Feathered Friends Beat the Heat
As the temperature rises, more and more birds go in search of water and shade. In cities, that may mean finding a park with a pond. Birds in the suburbs often head for people’s backyards, perhaps hoping for shade trees and a water source. Squirrels and other animals also may seek a break from the heat. You can help make their lives easier.
If you don’t have a shallow backyard pond, you might consider adding a birdbath. You’ll find birds of all kinds taking time out for a bath and a drink. According to Black Mountain News, songbirds prefer bathing in ponds, so putting a birdbath at ground level works better for them. Make sure the container isn’t too deep and has a gentle slope. A simple, shallow pie pan works just fine.
Cover the bath bottom with a little bit of sand to give the birds a better grip. Put it in the shade to keep the water cooler. A nearby tree or shrub offers a safe spot for the birds to dry off. Birds preen their feathers after bathing with oil secreted from glands at the base of their tails. Make sure to keep your birdbath filled with clean, fresh water. You may have so many visitors you’ll want to put out multiple baths.
Hot weather also tends to limit food sources, according to the Audubon Society. Bird feeders help. Keep them clean and full of seeds. Hummingbirds, which feed on nectar, also suffer when the heat dries up flowers. A hummingbird feeder filled with a sugar solution can be a life saver. Hummingbirds always seem on the go, but they also stop to enjoy birdbaths.
Visit The Rainforest Site to find out how urban parks help birds and other animals survive the heat. You can always head for a park near you to cool off and do a little wildlife watching at the same time.