Friday, June 29, 2012

5 Easy Ways To Help Birds Beat the Heat

     I thought it would be appropriate to post about a topic such as this on a day like today where temperatures across much of the country are soaring into triple digit figures. In the southeast, all time record highs are expected upwards of 108 degrees.  If you've ever heard the saying "hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk," well I bet you probably would be able to do that in these kinds of temperatures. While we are inside complaining that it is too hot with our fans or air conditioners blasting, let us remember that our avian friends are not so fortunate to have this kind of technology. They do have a higher body temperature than us humans, but they still must find a way to make it through this extreme heat.  There are 5 easy ways that we can help birds beat the heat.

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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

 Help Birds Beat the Heat

 1)  Provide Extra Bird Baths - even if you typically have one bird bath, try to make a few more.  On a scorching day, competition for bird baths will increase dramatically.  One can easily do this by flipping over the lid on your garbage can and filling the lid with about 3 to 4 inches of cold water.  Make sure you check on your bird baths every few hours if you can. On really hot days, the water will evaporate so make sure to refill.  If the water has not evaporated, check it to see if it is warm.  If it has warmed up a lot, dump out the old water and replace it with colder water.

2) Let The Birds Know Water Is Near - try to get a mister or dripper for your bird bath. Any moving water will help to attract birds that are flying over your backyard who may not realize that there is a chance for them to cool down a bit.

3)  Bird feeders - try to fill bird feeders with seed and not food that will go bad like suet.  Feeders are extremely helpful to birds trying to conserve all the energy they can.  Remember that they have to feed their little ones as well.  If you are feeling like it is necessary you can "upgrade" your choice of seed for the duration of the heat.

4) Strategic Placement of Feeders and Baths -  If it is possible, put feeders and/or baths in the shade.  It will keep the birds cooler!  Also, try to leave some space between the feeder and the bird bath.  Often birds will drop seeds and droppings in the bath if too close.  Makes for a fun clean up.

5)  Provide Multiple Shade Sources - whether it is natural shade from a weeping elm tree, or a weather guard purchased from your local nature shop, shade sources are extremely helpful to wild birds.  Why not plant some more trees in your backyard?  There's nothing wrong with thinking about the future.  We want to make sure our avian friends are around for our grandchildren to enjoy. 

What do you all do to help birds beat the heat?  Please share in the comments section below.

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