Hottest day of 2019 set to impact garden birds


While much of Britain is engulfed by the peak of a three-day heatwave, many garden birds will be struggling as the warmth dries up natural water resources. 

Parts of south-east England are set to hit 38 Celsius on Thursday 25 July, and species such as Blue Tit, European Robin and Blackbird will find themselves seeking shade and water. As a result, the RSPB has asked people to leave out a fresh supply of water in their outdoor space throughout the extreme conditions.

Leaving out water in hot weather can make a real difference to garden birds (Jane Rowe).

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 rehydrate. In addition to drinking water, water to bathe in is just as important. 

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 weather.

Charlotte Ambrose, RSPB Wildlife Advisor, said: "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 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."