A DEAKIN wildlife expert is offering suggestions for how people can help native birds during this dry and difficult summer.
Wildlife ecologist from Deakin University’s Centre for Integrative Ecology and author of Your Backyard Birds Dr Gráinne Cleary said the weather and bushfires were driving birds to more urbanised areas.
“Many water sources are already drying out because of the current drought and bushfire activity, so birds will be on the hunt for water and new habitat and we need to make them feel welcome.
“People should put out plenty of water and, on extremely hot days, even add some ice cubes to the water to keep it cool.”
Dr Cleary says different birds have different requirements, but accommodating their needs is simple.
“Traditional pedestal bird baths are good for bigger birds such as magpies, but smaller birds like superb fairy wrens and yellow robins prefer smaller bowls, close to vegetation.
“You can make a bath out of almost anything and we have seen birds using pots or old buckets filled with water.”
She says placing a rock or stick in or across any makeshift birdbaths can also make them a more inviting place for birds to land.
She said people who had spared a thought for the birds in the past had also witnessed echidnas swim in the baths, and koalas occasionally drink out of them.
People who do leave water out should ensure that the water is clean, and that dogs or cats may pose a threat and should be locked in at night.