Birds need lots of water and shelter in the hot weather

WILDLIFE organisations have issued a reminder about the impact of recent hot waves on native birds. 

With sweltering conditions, and temperatures in the 40s predicted again over the coming weeks, head of research at Bird Life Australia James O’Connor is encouraging people to fill their birdbaths and leave water out.

Mr O’Connor said over the past few weeks, thousands of native birds had felt the effects of the heat wave, both in the city and in the country.

“Hot weather always takes its toll, but if it only lasts for a day or two, birds can usually survive until the weather cools down again,” he said. 

“However, when it’s hot for day after day, like the rest of us they start to feel the effects.”

He said, like everyone else, birds needed to drink lots of water and shelter from the heat during the hot weather.

“Unlike the rest of us, they can’t turn on a tap for some cold water, or switch on an air-conditioner to cool down,” he said.

“Just a few months ago, wetlands were brimming with water, but now many are just parched expanses of cracked mud.

“Birds need water to drink every day, and when the wetlands dry out, they need to find water somewhere else or they will die.” 

Mr O’Connor suggested the best thing people could do to lend the birds a hand was to place a dish of water in the shade.

“So that the birds can have a drink or cool off in it,” he said. 

“And make sure it’s not too deep so that birds won’t drown in it!

“Also, if you have a birdbath in your garden, make sure it’s topped up regularly and placed in the shade so the water doesn’t heat up too much.”

He added it was important to keep the water out of the reach of the neighbourhood cats.

“Heat-stressed birds are easy prey for them,” he said.

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