With much of Georgia suffering from drought conditions, the need to provide our backyard bird neighbors with water grows each day. Consequently, in many neighborhoods, nearby water is difficult or impossible for birds to find. Here are some of the reasons why a lack of water can have negative impacts on birds.
This year drought conditions surfaced during the spring when young birds are venturing out into the world for the very first time. As we all know, these inexperienced fledglings are vulnerable to a host of predators. When hapless youngsters are forced to travel greater distances to reach water, their chances of becoming a meal for predators are greater than they would be if water was available in or near our yards.
In the case of birds that are still nesting, when nesting birds are required to travel greater distances for water, they are forced to spend more time away from their young, increasing the odds their nests will be discovered by predators.
On the average, wild birds lose an average of 15 to 25 percent of their body weight each day. Larger birds generally lose less weight, in relation to their body mass, than smaller birds. Water plays a role a bird’s ability to maintain its physical health. The high temperatures that have recently plagued the state, has increased their need for water.
Water also allows birds to maintain their plumage. This allows cleaning their feathers as well as helping control parasites.
With that in mind, one of the most important things we can do for birds in our backyards to provide them with a dependable, safe source of water. Anything from a shallow pan to a birdbath will suffice. While you are at it, put at least one water source on the ground to benefit those animals that cannot reach a birdbath on a pedestal.
Although bird enthusiasts make providing a clean, dependable source of food their top priority, maintaining a place for birds to feed and drink is important too. This is especially true right now when many of the natural sources of water used by birds have dried up.