Water is always important! So, what’s changed to make it more important than ever?
Well, if the past few years are any guide, there appears to be many more circumstances occurring in nature that are making water…especially fresh, clean water…harder to come by for birds and other wildlife.
Depending on the geographic location, birds have had to deal with extreme heat events, extensive wildfires and widespread areas of severe drought. Needless to say, under these life-threatening circumstances, water is more important than ever for birds.
Even under normal circumstances, birds need water.
Water is vitally important during the high temperatures of a routine summer, when a bird’s ability to regulate its own body temperature can become stressed. Birds do not sweat and must remove excess body heat through their respiratory system. When temperatures rise, their respiration rate increases, sometimes to a point that birds seem to pant like a dog. This leads to an increased rate of dehydration and the need for a quick and reliable source of water to replace the lost fluids.
Equally important, bathing in water helps birds to keep their feathers in top-flight condition. Their lives depend on it. They need to be flight-ready at all times and bathing is a crucial part of feather maintenance for many birds.
No matter whether they are regular visitors to your feeders or not, all birds need water. Offering a dependable source of water in your yard is probably the simplest and most important step you can take to help provide this lifesaving necessity for your birds.
It will also significantly increase the variety of birds in your yard. Water, especially the sound of water, is nothing short of a bird magnet! Birds of all types (think warblers, tanagers, thrushes) are likely to stop by to drink, bathe and preen.
So, whether it is to help birds or to enhance the entertainment value of your hobby, providing a safe, clean source of water is truly more important than ever.
Be sure to check out the WBU Nature Centered Podcast episode, “Water. More Important than Ever.” Our expert and entertaining hosts, John and Brian, will share the best ways to offer water to attract the widest variety of birds to your backyard this summer.