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Hot Tips for Cool Birds: Caring for Feathered Friends During the Summer Heat

broad tailed hummingbird on a nectar feeder-medium

Extreme weather events like heat waves emphasize the urgent nature of the climate crisis. Recent heat waves have shattered records worldwide, and summers are predicted to become even more sweltering. Our feathered friends are particularly vulnerable to this hazardous trend and are an additional threat to bird population declines. 

Rising global temperatures threaten the survival of numerous bird species in North America as their traditional habitats become less inhabitable. Heat waves, combined with droughts, pose a significant risk, leading to mortality and additional stress on bird populations. Lack of water and natural food sources during hot conditions can result in heatstroke or dehydration for birds. Simple actions in your own community can help birds cope with extreme heat. 

Providing water and shade is crucial to help birds stay cool during heat waves. Evaporating water from their lungs and upper respiratory tract helps birds release excess body heat, but it depletes their water resources quickly. Creating a bird bath or offering water sources can be of significant help. Make sure that you are changing out bird bath water daily, visit our #FEEDSMART page for more details. 

Sheltering in cooler, shady spots is another way birds avoid extreme heat. Planting diverse native plants such as trees, shrubs, and ground cover can offer these refuge areas. Additionally, ensure that nest boxes are shaded, as they can become excessively hot for cavity-nesting birds. Native plants play a vital role in providing food resources for birds, such as seeds, berries, fruit, and insects. Cultivating native plants helps sustain these vital food sources during heat waves.  

Bird feeders can also supplement food resources for certain species. Provide appropriate foods year-round to attract more birds to your yard and help ensure that they have a safe and nutritious diet. To maximize birds’ use of your yard, keep feeders full to make your yard a part of their routine and provide a variety of feeders and birdbaths because birds have different feeding preferences. Look for the WBFI Quality Standards logo when purchasing bird food to ensure quality products that will attract the birds you want. Click here to find a WBFI retailer. 

Visit our Create a Backyard Sanctuary page to discover additional ways you can support and protect our feathered companions during the scorching summer months. From bird-friendly gardening tips to information on setting up the perfect feeding station, you'll find valuable insights and actionable steps to make your backyard a haven for birds.