Birds, just like us have to work at staying cool. Understanding how they do this will help you to find them in the field easier and help you to provide better shelter for them in your yard in summer’s heat. Here’s a list I collected that I hope will help you better understand them and help them stay cool this summer.
Bird’s bodies are designed with…
- Faster respiration to help release that excess heat through their breath
- Bare skin patches on legs, face and feet and even around their eyes.
- Increasing blood flow when needed in their bills to help cool it
- Pant, reduce activity, and seek shade near the ground (especially with a water source).
- Shake water over their bodies, dive beneath its surface or just walk through it.
- Soaring birds soar even higher to reach cooler air
- Puff out their feathers or flutter their wings in a cool breeze and sometimes hold their wings away from their bodies
- Turning lighter colored feathers to reflect the sunlight
You can help them by…
- Creating shade with layers of plants like in the forest. The layers of leaves and branches serve to soak up the heat and keep the ground cooler where birds will go in heat.
- Putting the birdbath in the shade and keep it filled with about 1-2 inches of clean fresh.
- Adding misters or drippers to the birdbath or even a bubbler fountain. Moving water signals a fresh drink or bath to passing birds. Humming birds prefer these to deeper water.
- Placing feeders and houses out of the midday sun.
- Providing nutritious food you help the birds to not have to work so hard in the heat to stay fed. Avoid suet in summer as it can go rancid quickly with the heat.
Here is a great fountain project the birds would love at Birds and Blooms website! While you’re there check out the other great DIY projects.