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GardenSMART :: Help Birds Beat Summertime Heat

Help Birds Beat Summertime Heat

By Cole's Wild Bird Products, Co.
Photographs courtesy of Cole's Wild Bird Products, Co.

It's hot out there, not just for humans but for the birds, too. Summertime heat can take a toll on birds; they can suffer from heatstroke and overexertion. Although birds don't sweat, they can cool down by soaring high in the sky where there's cooler air to provide some relief from the heat. Lifting and fluttering their wings can also help them keep cool. Birds seek out shade in the high heat of the afternoon and look for water sources to cool down.

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As temperatures climb, birds can use some help beating high heat. Providing them with some shade, water and an easy, accessible food source are effective ways to help and attract birds to your backyard.

Provide plenty of water: Providing a water source in your yard is key to keeping backyard birds cool. A birdbath is a great choice for a water source. When choosing a birdbath, look for one that will accommodate both small and larger bird species and be sure it's not too shallow, as it will dry out quickly in summer heat. Sloping-sided birdbaths are a good choice and will allow different size birds to bathe at a depth they prefer.

You can add a mister to any birdbath: the sound and reflection of the water in the sunlight will attract birds to the water source and they'll cool down when flying through the fine spray. Add some ice to the birdbath to keep the water cool and keep water levels steady.

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Provide shade for cool shelter: Trees, shrubs, broadleaf plants and vines will provide natural shade and protection from predators. Add a ventilated birdhouse mounted in a shady place and place feeders in the shade, too. Don't place feeders too close to birdhouses, as birds may be less comfortable near the busy bustle at feeders.

Offer reliable, healthy, high-quality bird feed and fruit: No matter what the temperature, birds forage for food, which can be strenuous in high heat. You can help by providing them with a reliable food source to cut down on foraging and expending energy. Birds that have an easily accessible, consistent food source will spend less time foraging and more time resting and bathing when temperatures soar.

Good quality summer foods help keep birds healthy so they're better able to deal with the stress of extreme temperatures.

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All varieties of birdseed are suitable for summer fare, but black oil sunflower is the number one choice of almost all seed-eating songbirds. Oil Sunflower is the highest-grade black oil sunflower available. It's over 99% pure and it's positively chock full of oil. You want as much oil in your sunflower as you can get because that's what attracts the birds. High-grade, high-oil sunflower means more birds at your bird feeder.

Niger seed is a favorite of beautiful wild finches. This special seed is a great source of energy due to its high oil content. When served straight, it is best used in a specifically designed tubular feeder, like Cole's Nifty Niger Feeder, with small holes where it can be economically dispensed.

Coles Wild Bird Products, Co. offers a wide variety of seed to attract different species of birds as well as the greatest numbers of birds. Cole's Special Feeder is a unique mix, providing a high-energy treat for many birds. It's also Cole's most popular blend because it attracts the greatest number of wild birds, more than any other mix available.

Suet: Try no-melt suet cakes or specialty suet, like Suet Kibbles, that won't melt in summer's heat and will attract woodpeckers, chickadees, and jays. Kibbles are also a great source of energy and can be crumbled or chopped and offered in a dish or bowl feeder.

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Don't forget fresh fruit: Songbirds love fruit and it's refreshing in summer's heat. Offer fresh banana slices, apple wedges and orange halves to attract summer tanagers, orioles, northern cardinals and other colorful species. Fruit can be offered in a platform feeder, a suet cage, or try the Bountiful Bowl feeder, which is compact and comes with an adjustable dome cover that can be raised or lowered to prevent larger birds and squirrels from getting to the food as well as help protect the food from inclement weather. The Bountiful Bowl feeder is a great starter feeder because it is the easiest to fill and hang. It holds any seed or suet product, fresh fruit and even jelly.

Taking these simple steps to help birds in the dog days of summer will benefit them and also allow you to continue to enjoy birdwatching at the same time. For more information on bird feed and feeders please visit:


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GardenSMART Featured Article

By Delilah Onofrey, Suntory Flowers
Photographs courtesy of Suntory Flowers

Now is the time to shop for annuals that will go the distance all summer. Suntory Flowers has a portfolio of gorgeous varieties that thrive in the heat. To learn more, click here for an interesting article.

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