Keeping Birds Cool
The hottest days of summer can be fatal to birds, but they have many different techniques for trying to keep cool. Savvy birders who provide a cool place for birds to visit can enjoy many feathered visitors in the summer, and helping birds keep cool is easy for any backyard birder to do.
How Birds Keep Cool
Birds do not sweat, but they have several ways they can try to keep cool when the temperatures rise, including:
- Panting to increase cooling their body temperature through their bills.
- Seeking out shaded areas for feeding and roosting to avoid the summer sun.
- Being most active in the early morning and late evening when it is coolest.
- Bathing to keep feathers wet and take advantage of cooling moisture.
While these techniques can help birds survive the summer's heat, droughts and extreme temperatures can be devastating, particularly to newly hatched birds or nesting parents.
Help Keep Birds Cool
Backyard birders can take easy steps that will not only attract birds, but will help cool them off on the hottest days.
- Offer clean, full bird baths in shaded areas in your backyard. Add ice to the birdbath to keep the water cool and keep it full as water evaporates.
- Plant low shrubs and bushes that will provide shade for ground-feeding birds. Choose plants that also offer flowers, seeds, or berries to feed birds so the plants do double-duty.
- Offer more than one bird bath or other water sources such as misters, drippers, or fountains so all your backyard birds have adequate water to enjoy.
By taking steps to help birds keep cool during the worst of the summer heat, not only will you be helping your feathered friends, but you'll enjoy even more species visiting your yard to chill out.
- Article courtesy of Melissa Mayntz
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