Parts of the UK saw their hottest ever July day on Wednesday, with temperatures reaching 98F at Heathrow Airport.
As temperatures rocket, spare a thought for our 'feathered friends' in the garden, and make sure they have a supply of clean, fresh water at all times. Their normal supplies can dry up quickly, and they need a little help, especially in towns.
A purpose-built bird bath like the one in our photo is ideal (they make a great present if anyone is about to celebrate a birthday!), and they provide lots of entertainment when watched from the house.
The birds will drink and bathe at the same time. Bathing is an important part of feather maintenance - it wets and loosens the dirt, making it easier for the bird to 'preen' its feathers and apply oil to keep them waterproof.
Any shallow container can be used. Plant drip trays up to a couple of inches deep are inexpensive and work well.
Add fresh water daily, and check to see that the bath is clean. It may start to 'go green' with algae, and will need to be cleaned and rinsed every week.
Remember to keep the bath going year-round as your birds will come to rely on you, and natural supplies may be frozen in winter.
Photo of House Sparrows bathing from Original by Zachary (Zach Hauri) CC (Wikimedia Commons).
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