As the scorching sun beats down during a summer heatwave, it’s not just us humans who seek relief – our avian companions in the garden also struggle to keep cool. Fortunately, aiding our feathered friends during hot spells can be as rewarding as it is simple. Here, we share four essential tips to ensure your garden becomes a haven of respite for the birds:
1. Provide Ample Shade
In the sweltering heat, birds seek refuge from the blazing sun beneath the comforting shade of trees and bushes. During these torrid times, birds conserve energy by minimizing movement, as even the slightest exertion can lead to overheating. To assist them, it’s crucial to incorporate plenty of cool, shady spots into your garden’s design. Consider planting leafy trees, installing trellises with climbing vines or strategically placing potted plants to create cozy sanctuaries from the sun.
2. Offer Refreshing Drinking Water
Just like us, birds require hydration to beat the summer heat. In your garden, place a shallow clay pot tray or a flat ceramic plate filled with water. Ensure the water’s depth ranges from 2.5 to 7 centimeters but never exceeds 10 centimeters. The birdbath should have a stable base with a rough bottom to prevent our avian friends from slipping in. To ensure their safety, you can place a small stone in the center of the birdbath. Birds will only use it if they feel secure, so select a location free from lurking feline or rodent predators.
Remember to regularly change the water and keep the container clean, as diseases can spread quickly in dirty drinking bowls. During hot weather, monitor the water daily, cleaning it with boiled water and allowing it to bask in the sun before refilling. Having two birdbaths that you can swap while cleaning one is an excellent practice.
3. Provide Cooling Relief and a Foot Bath
When birds face overheating, they can’t rely on sweating like we do since their feathers make them impervious to this cooling mechanism. Instead, they seek out cooler air and refreshing air currents to find relief. Birds, especially waterfowl, may even dip their feet into cool water.
However, keep in mind that pools, rainwater tanks and garden ponds can pose a threat to these creatures. Animals can become trapped, leading to unfortunate outcomes. To prevent such incidents, cover water surfaces with netting or floating devices, and add escape mechanisms like angled ramps with crossbars along the edges.
4. Indulge Them with a Sand Bath
Certain bird species, such as sparrows and robins, relish the opportunity to bathe in sand to cleanse their feathers of parasites. You can enhance your garden’s appeal to these birds by creating a sandy bathing area in a sunny location. Remember to change the sand every few weeks to keep it fresh and inviting for your feathered friends.
By implementing these simple measures, your garden can transform into an oasis of relief for the birds during scorching summer days. Watching them frolic, refresh, and thrive in your garden will undoubtedly bring joy to both your heart and theirs. So, go ahead, let your garden become a sanctuary where you and your avian companions can beat the heat together.