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22/09/2021

People asked to put out water in their gardens to help birds cope with the hot weather

Feathered friends can struggle in the heat

People asked to put out water in their gardens to help birds cope with the hot weather

As temperatures soar above 30C in parts of Northern Ireland, and with the warm weather set to continue our wildlife, like many of us, are feeling the heat.

Our favourite garden birds, like blackbirds, robins, and blue tits could be left struggling as the heat dries up natural water sources.

RSPB NI is asking people to give birds a helping hand by leaving out a small supply of fresh water in their gardens or outdoor space to help our feathered friends.

The hot conditions could leave the countryside depleted of its natural water sources, meaning birds will be left desperately searching for alternatives.

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. Most small birds need to drink at least twice a day to replace the lost water, so it’s crucial they have access to fresh water to rehydrate.

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 and cool them down

RSPB NI’s Angela Mahon said: “In these high temperatures our garden birds will struggle to remain cool as natural water sources dry up. Birds such as robins, blue tits and blackbirds will be in desperate need of a drink.

Simple steps such as keeping bird baths clean and topped up, creating a make-shift pond from a small bowl or putting down a shallow saucer with fresh water could offer a vital lifeline to some of our much-loved garden birds. 

Topping up a water dish each day will give the birds a place they can come to hydrate, bathe and cool-off.

It could even provide some amazing wildlife watching opportunities, as birds like robins, sparrows and blackbirds take it in turns to splash their feathers and beat the heat.” 

RSPB recently launched Nature on Your Doorstep, a new online resource designed to help people turn their outdoor spaces into havens for themselves and wildlife.

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