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Offering Water to Thirsty Birds

Nature

Several people have commented to me that it isn’t just humans, dogs and gardens that are suffering from the drought. The birds are, too.

I asked the experts at Audubon in Sharon, Conn., for their tips on how to offer water to backyard birds.

Bethany Sheffer is a naturalist and the volunteer coordinator  for Audubon. She said a good option is to put a birdbath outside. Be careful of course of using metal, which will get very hot.

She offered this advice on birdbaths:

• "Water should be replenished as needed and the bath itself should be cleaned with soap and water and/or a diluted vinegar solution (1 part white vinegar to 1 part water) on at least a weekly basis.

• Keep house cats inside if beginning to offer this option for birds — house cats are responsible for the death of approximately 2.4 billion birds each year and take advantage of places where they gather such as at feeders and baths.

• Keep existing water sources sanitary.

• Eliminate pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, etc., if you have ponds in the yard. Water bodies such as local ponds can be critical resources to birds during times of drought, so keeping them as chemical-free as possible increases their value to birds and other local wildlife.

Fortunately, we have a lot of pocket lakes and ponds around for birds to access water during stressful environmental conditions such as drought. But these backyard resources play an important role, too!”

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