Excessive Heat: 5 Ways To Help Garden Birds in SummerPetmania Pet Care Advisor
Irish weather, for the most part, is unpredictable, but we are not shy of the occasional heatwave. When it gets hot outside, we need to be mindful of how much shade we’re under and water we’re consuming, and the same can be said for the local wildlife. Garden birds need shelter, water, and shade to stay cool and hydrated during the warmer months, and because they lack the ability to sweat, it makes it all more important that they have quick and easy access to these resources.
In this blog post, we’ll show you how to take care of local wildlife that may be struggling to cope in the heat, and what you can do to help.
1. Provide Plenty of Water
Birds love water, particularly in summer when they need it to stay cool and to keep their feathers clean. Help your garden birds beat the heat by providing cold water in bird baths with some ice cubes in each one. Always make sure to top up the water throughout the day and that it stays cool.
When choosing your bird bath, choose one with different depths to accommodate both large and small bird species. A deep basin won’t be attractive to small birds, while a very shallow one will dry out quicker on hot days, especially when birds bathe vigorously. Position the bird bath in an open area in the garden so plenty of birds can see it from afar.
Proper hygiene is also essential when providing water to garden birds. Dirty water baths can cause garden birds to fall ill and spread disease. Make sure to clean your baths at least once a week, and more often if the water becomes discoloured or if you notice algae or mould. Rinse daily to help make the bath even cleaner.
2. Stay Under the Shade
During hot weather, locate any bird feeders you have in a sheltered, shaded area, out of the sun. This will ensure they stay cool and comfortable as they eat. The shade will help keep the seed cooler and hinder any spoilage. It will also help block any rain that would seep through and cause the seeds to become wet, which could cause mould or mildew.
3. Keep Feeding
Save your birds the hassle of looking for their own food in the summer and provide plenty of fresh, nutritious foods from your feeders to leave out for them. Extra food at the bird table can help birds feed their young, so make sure to offer a plentiful supply. It’s best to avoid fat/suet-based products during the summer months, but your birds will appreciate plenty of mealworms, peanuts and sunflower seeds.
4. Keep Bird Houses Cool
Birds houses should also be mounted in shaded areas, ideally near somewhere with a light breeze for that extra cool air. Ensure you bird houses have wide ventilation holes under house eaves to provide cold air circulation for any nestlings. This will also ensure no rain can get in to dampen the nest. Make sure bird houses and feeders are kept in separate locations however, as many birds do like to nest where they eat.
5. Turn on Misters
Attach misters to bird baths or shrubs to spray a light mist for birds to cool down in. Why not also use the mist setting on the nozzle on your hose or use a very light sprinkler to wet your shrubs? Garden birds will appreciate the extra damp in the bushes to cool down in.