After all that moaning about winter and summer never coming, as usual the good old British weather has thrown us the unexpected in the shape of weeks of sunshine and sky-high temperatures. Whilst we are relaxing in the sun-lounger and the kids are splashing in the paddling pool though, our garden wildlife is feeling the heat.
The RSPB is calling on all wildlife lovers to lend a helping hand to their garden visitors during the hot spell. You can read the full post here but the gist of it is that with normal water resources drying up, birds and animals are becoming desperate for drinking water and a place to bathe and keep cool. Not only that but with worms and grubs digging deep to find cooler ground, birds and beasties relying on them as a source of food are also going hungry.
What can we do to help? Topping up birdbaths, putting out a temporary container with water in, create a makeshift pond from a sunken bucket with some twigs/stones into it to provide access (the kids will love helping with that one), even a plate of water on the ground, can all help garden wildlife. It’s also important to keep bird tables stocked up so there is plenty of backup food for hungry foragers. Keeping our own garden flowers and herbs well-watered also helps out bees and butterflies as wild plants begin to suffer in the heat and they search for alternative food sources.
Our garden is no exception, despite the shade from the oak tree and our regular blackbird has been behaving oddly in scorching temperatures of the last week. Normally one to sit up in the oak tree shouting at us, grubbing about in the raised beds, pillaging the raspberries or perching on fence-posts, he has taken to regularly flying down and flopping on the shady grass, wings askew, in what I can only assume is an attempt to cool himself down. We do have a birdbath (although the dumpy woodpigeons displace most of the water in a tidal wave every time they sit in it) but it’s a little way away from his normal perches, so in a moment of softness I filled the wheelbarrow with water with a couple of brick perches in it creating Blackie his very own lido in his favourite spot. Let’s hope he appreciates it!
You can read the full post from the RSPB on helping wildlife in the heat here.