On Nature: Birds and Climate

On Nature: David Voigts

Climate change is predicted to bring more frequent and more severe heat waves that can have severe consequences for people and wildlife, including birds. All will need to find ways to escape the heat. According to information from the National Audubon Society, birds can reduce their temperature somewhat by breathing rapidly and by finding shady places to escape the heat. However, nesting birds may have few options for escaping the heat. They must stay close to their nest.

Although birds will be more at risk, there are things we can do. Lowering carbon emissions will help slow global warming and reduce the risk to birds. More immediately, we can make our backyards a safe and shady haven for birds. We can plant native vegetation that is both a ready food source and shade. We also can provide a water source, such as a bird bath, and we can place bird boxes where they will not be exposed to long hours of direct sunlight. When this cannot be avoided, as with Bluebirds that require open areas, bird boxes should be orientated so the opening is on the north or shady side.

There is much we can do. Let’s get started.

David Voigts is a retired ecologist and the current Conservation Chair for the Prairie Rapids Audubon Society. He is a Tama County native, graduating from Dinsdale High School, and lives in rural Jesup on his wife’s family farm.