Monday, 18 December 2023
Whether you’re close to fires or not, providing a source of safe, clean water is a simple but effective way to help birds in extreme heat and before, during and after bushfire events.
You don’t need to buy a fancy bird bath, either – everyday household items are also a great option. You can use plastic tubs and containers, buckets, hanging pots, upside-down bin lids, kitchen pots and pans, ceramic dishes or even a clam shell pool.
Different species prefer different depths of water, so try a variety of shapes and size so that every bird has a place to drink and bathe.
Find out more about providing water for birds here.
As well as the immediate stress of fleeing from fire, fire-affected birds face destruction of their food sources, shelter and nest sites. If you live near a fire zone, you can provide supplementary food to help birds in the immediate aftermath of a fire. However, it’s also important to be aware of the risks of feeding wild birds and how to avoid harming the same wildlife you want to help.
Remember: feeding wild birds shouldn’t be a long-term solution and should supplement, not replace, their natural diet. As their habitat recovers, birds will be able to forage for food naturally and you can scale back your feeding efforts.
Find out more about providing supplementary food for wild birds here.
During fire or extreme heat events, you can help your local native birds by providing a cool, safe and shady place for them to shelter and rest and recover. You can help provide relief by using a spray bottle to mist and cool down vegetation, or by adding garden umbrellas or other shade sources to your yard.
If a bird is behaving unusually, it might be trying to cool down. Birds don’t have sweat glands – instead, they cool themselves by opening their beaks and wings. Give fire and heat-affected birds space and allow them to rest. If you can, observe them from a distance to make sure they’re ok.
Sadly, most wildlife (including birds) that are in the path of a fire will perish. Those that survive can be disorientated by smoke or strong winds, or injured by the flames, radiant heat or smoke inhalation. Please do not search fire zones for injured birds or other wildlife: trained wildlife rescuers will search the area once it is safe to do so.
Signs of a sick or injured bird include:
To prepare, keep a rescue kit in the boot of your car and in your house or garage with a strong box or crate, towels, gloves, a torch and a pillowcase.
Find out more about helping sick or injured birds here.
Conducting post-fire bird surveys helps our scientists and researchers measure the short and long-term impacts of fire on bird populations, and understand how bird populations change, move and recover after
When it is safe to do so, you can help by conducting regular Birdata surveys. These 2ha x 20min surveys can be done from anywhere in Australia, in any habitat and location. This data helps us identify and protect refuges within fire-affected areas, and informs our recovery planning and conservation efforts.
Visit Birdata to find out more and start surveying today.
Donating to organisations on the forefront of fire recovery efforts is an easy way to help fire-affected wildlife and communities.
Find out how you can support BirdLife Australia’s work with threatened and fire-affected bird populations here.
As well as providing important bird habitat and refuges for wildlife, greener living spaces can help keep urban areas cooler in rising temperatures. It’s possible to create more spaces for wildlife in our towns and cities, while minimizing the fire risk to your property.
Note: water restrictions and soaring temperatures means summer isn’t a great time for planting. Instead, use this time to research suitable plants for your garden and map out the best locations for them.
Find out more ways to make your garden bird-friendly here.
The 2019–20 bushfire season, known as ‘Black Summer’, was catastrophic for Australian birds and their habitats. BirdLife Australia’s Bushfire Recovery Program aims to improve conservation outcomes for birds most imperiled by the fires.
Providing a source of safe, clean water is a simple but effective way to help local native birds year-round.
Conservation starts in your backyard. The plants that we choose for our gardens can provide most, sometimes even all, of the food, shelter and nesting resources that urban birds require. So when you are deliberating over which plants to add your garden, it’s useful to consider the following.
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