CHENNAI: Fancy turning your home into a bird haven this summer? One bustling with birding activity, where bulbuls, magpies, robins, and mynas cackle in abandon?
The cruel summer is taking its toll on the avian species. With water bodies drying up and mercury climbing at a faster pace, birds are one of the most affected in the animal kingdom. Rising temperatures and climatic changes have made perceptible changes in the habits of the birds, according to bird watchers and ornithologists.
Many birds have shown myriad ways of adapting to summer, according to ornithologist C Susanth. “For instance, the pond heron is normally seen near water bodies. But for the past two years, we have been seeing it in our neighbourhood, sometime as early as December. This is because of the heat,” said Susanth, founder of the birding group Warblers and Waders. “Even the cattle egret has made its presence in our city areas, near garbage heaps, unlike earlier,” he said.
Birds have started building their nests ahead of their normal breeding season. “Woodpeckers, parakeets, barbets began nesting early and the birdlings have hatched. This could be a mechanism to beat the heat. Normally the hatching occurs in the end of March,” he said.
The ideal way to help the avian species beat the heat is by keeping bird baths in your house compound, according to birders. “We aren’t seeing a death rate in the birds, but we have encountered birdling deaths due to dehydration,” Susanth said.
A bowl of water can help the birds a great deal in coping with the temperature rise. All one needs to ensure is to change the water on a daily basis. Moreover, keeping the bowl at a height of around four or five feet will ensure that the birds feel safer, with them being able to escape and fly away if they feel threatened.