Birds want summer season solar for wholesome pores and skin and bones


A white-winged dove stood within the open yard with one wing raised excessive and its physique tilted towards the solar, regardless of the 95-degree temperature.

You’ll have thought solely skimpily clad beachgoers stretched like this underneath the solar for a suntan. But the dove wasn’t tanning; it  was utilizing this transient publicity to the daylight for its well being.  

Sunrays agitate parasites on a chicken’s physique, inflicting them to maneuver as much as feather surfaces the place the chicken preens and plucks them off. Ultraviolet daylight converts chemical compounds in preening oil on the chicken’s rump into Vitamin D to offer calcium for bone well being. 

Birds additionally should bathe wherever they discover water on sizzling summer season days. Our yard songbirds have a birdbath stuffed with contemporary water each morning. Nesting bluebirds and their fledglings soak themselves within the birdbath nearly every day. 

They stand within the birdbath, fluff their feathers, submerge their bellies and breasts, bob their heads within the water, after which flap their wings to create a showering impact whereas twisting quickly backwards and forwards. Soaked feathers then draw moisture to their pores and skin for cooling.
Afterward, bluebirds fly to a close-by perch to shake out extra water and preen their feathers with water-proofing preening oil to guard the physique towards a rainstorm.  

Water in a birdbath is crucial for birds’ well being in the course of the summer season. However owners ought to replenish the water every day to forestall growth of mosquito larvae. 

Birds clearly want water to drink, however most cannot drink the way in which we do as a result of they lack the mouths, lips and sucking skill we’ve got. They as a substitute use their beaks to dip up water or scoop it up from moist bushes and vegetation. Birds then toss their heads again to let the water movement into their stomachs. 

Doves, akin to my sunbathing white-winged dove, or pigeons like these on metropolis streets have the distinctive skill to carry their heads down and suck up water by means of their beaks. It is nearly like ingesting water by means of a straw.

Birds might merely stand in a birdbath as a result of water absorbs warmth from heat arterial blood flowing by means of the legs. Cooled blood then circulates again by means of the venous system into the physique. 
Birds usually pant with an open beak. They don’t seem to be gasping for air however as a substitute permitting moisture to evaporate from the lungs to assist cool their our bodies. Folks keep cool the identical approach by sweating, however birds cannot sweat.

Birds and summer season solar

  • Assist birds in the course of the summer season warmth by offering a shallow, concrete birdbath atop a concrete pedestal.
  •  The tough floor of a concrete birdbath allows birds to grip the sides for ingesting and stand on the underside for bathing, which birds can’t simply do on slick surfaced birdbaths.
  • A shallow terra-cotta dish works nice as a birdbath. 
  • Turning in your garden sprinkler permits birds to fly by means of the water spray for cooling and perch in bushes to let water drip on their feathers.
  •  Birds want shade from bushes to restrict noon daylight, however absent bushes put out potted vegetation like hibiscus, schefflera, or palm.
  •    Put out fruit like oranges and apples that nourish and refresh birds throughout summer season.   

Gary Clark is the writer of “Ebook of Texas Birds,” with images by Kathy Adams Clark (Texas A&M College Press). E-mail him at Texasbirder@comcast.internet.