Feed stray birds to quench their thirst in scorching heat

Muscat : The harsh summer is a reminder to us to spare some thoughts for birds which are important for our ecosystem. The birds like humans, need to be hydrated. They need regular supply of water to quench their thirst. Apart from quenching thirst, birds also make use of the water to cool off their body in scorching heat with temperatures ranging between 40 to 48 degrees in most of the places in northern Oman.

By sparing some thoughts of keeping water pots in our balconies or some shaded areas, we can save many bird lives and save them from migrating to areas where water is easily available. Due to their exposure to hot weather the feathers of birds trap heat because of which they get dehydrated and fall ill, said Ghubra resident P Ashok, who constantly feeds stray birds and makes it a habit to keep a wide water pot in his balcony during the summer season.

Dr Peter Nolosco, senior veterinarian at Capital Veterinary Centre, endorsed Ashok’s thoughts and asked the residents to take good care of birds whether they are pets or stray ones.

“For pet birds I suggest to keep them in room temperature, because both very hot and very cool temperature is harmful for the birds. Birds have tendency to dehydrate during summer, so they should be fed with food supplement which can keep them hydrated. Those supplements can be mixed with water or their regular food items,” said Dr Nolosco.

He also suggested increasing the supply of fruits and vegetables to birds during the summer season and not exposing them to outside temperature during mid-day. “There are pet birds, which do not drink enough water. During harsh summer like this, they should be forced fed with water… Pet birds do need outside exposure, which can be done during the evenings. I suggest mornings are the best,” he said.

Dr Nolosco suggested the residents to keep leftover fruits and vegetables in their balconies or shaded places for birds. At the same time he suggested to keep the place clean and remove the stuff which the birds could not eat.

According to Dr Nolosco, some birds love to take frequent baths even during normal weather. During summer they have more urge to take bath. “This keeps them hydrated, so it is advisable to put enough water if the birds are caged and some extra water in balcony or shaded areas for stray birds like pigeons, parrots, mainas etc.”

He gave one strong word of caution, “not to put the caged birds inside locked cars even for a minute. Most people do this mistake while going for shopping and thinking they will be back in 5-10 minutes. Forget about 5-10 minutes, even one minute is dangerous for all kind of pets. If at all you have to go out leaving your pet inside the car, please keep the car AC on and then go,” he said.

Understanding the plight of birds during harsh summer, Ruwi resident Shahnaz Bano, keeps water in her balcony regularly. “I have my house in CBD area where there are many birds. They give very good sight during winter and summer evenings. But they are nowhere to be seen during summer afternoons. They hide here and there to save themselves from scorching heat. My house, probably has become a favourable destination for them as I see hundreds of birds visiting the water pots either to drink or to take bath. I immensely enjoy their visit and feed them regularly,” she said.


Picture by Zakariya Omran

Story by Kaushalendra Singh