With temperatures set to soar above 35C in parts of the UK over the next few days, the RSPB is asking people to give birds a helping hand in the hot conditions by leaving out a supply of fresh water in their gardens or outdoor space.
Birds need water for two reasons; drinking and bathing. Unlike mammals, birds don’t have sweat glands, but they still lose a lot of water through respiration and in their droppings in the extreme heat. So it’s crucial they have access to fresh water to re-hydrate.
In addition to drinking water, water to bathe in is just as important for birds. Bathing is essential to their daily routine, helping them to keep their feathers in good condition so they remain warm and waterproof.
The sizzling conditions could leave the countryside depleted of its natural water sources, meaning birds will be left desperately searching for alternatives. By leaving out a supply of fresh, clean water, gardens can offer birds with the vital resource they need to survive the arduous conditions.
Charlotte Ambrose, RSPB wildlife advisor, commented: “While we sit back and relax in the outside with an ice-cold drink, generally revelling in unusually sunny weather, our garden birds might not be having such a good time. The hot weather could be causing natural water sources to dry up, meaning our favourite garden birds like robins, blue tits and blackbirds could be left without anything to drink.
“Turning your outside space into a home for nature by doing simple things like topping up your birdbath, creating a make-shift pond from a washing-up bowl or putting down a saucer filled with water could offer a vital lifeline to some of our much-loved garden birds that are already fighting against declines.”
The RSPB’s Giving Nature a Home website gives everyone access to expert advice about helping nature in their outdoor space – whether it’s a huge garden or a small planting tub on a balcony. To find out more about how you can help birds and other wildlife in your outdoor space, visit www.rspb.org.uk/homes