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From honey-infused water to seeking vet help: 5 ways you can help Mumbai’s birds beat the heat

Replace the water in your feeding bowls thrice a day, advise experts

mumbai Updated: May 31, 2017 10:40 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
birds in Mumbai,dehydrated birds,green cover in Mumbai
Citizens should plant creepers and bonsai plants in their balconies and fruit trees in their societies to attract birds.(HT Photo)

Mumbai’s sweltering heat and high humidity has made life difficult for the city’s birds — as many as 1,200 have suffered from dehydration over the past three months.Experts said these birds fly long distances in search of food, water or shelter, which takes a toll on their health.

Hindustan Times lists five things you can do to help birds gain access to clean water and food.

1. Put water bowls on your windowsills, balcony

Putting up bird feeders, shelters, water bowls and grains at your balcony, windowsill, gardens, office, shops or at a designated point in the society will help birds gain access to such resources faster. “People need to ensure that the bowls are kept in the shade so the water does not turn warm. The water should be replaced thrice a day,” said Lt Col Dr JC Khanna, the chief executive officer in charge, BSPCA. “Place the bowls at an elevated height so other animals will not be able to hurt the birds.”

2. Ensure that you have the type of plants that attract these birds

Birds will be attracted to areas where there are plants that can shelter them. “Citizens should plant creepers and bonsai plants in their balconies and fruit trees in their societies. The source of water should be kept right next to the plants, which will automatically attract birds. Ensure that your fans are switched off so the birds will not be hurt if they enter the room,” said Dr Khanna.

Here’s who you can call
  • SPCA Animal Hospital/ Ambulance, Parel: 24137518/ 24135434/ 23727814/ 23682208/ 9821286545
  • SPCA Animal Hospital/ Ambulance, Thane: 9322271966/ 8767612344/ 32612344
  • Bombay Veterinary College: 24131180
  • Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare: 7666680202, 9869780202
  • PAWS-Mumbai Helpline: 25918324/ 24129098/ 26325976/ 9821074659 9833480388
  • People for Ethical Treatment for Animals: 9820122561/ 26281880/ 9820122561

3. Provide medical care, offer dehydrated birds honey mixed in water

You can mix glucose, multivitamins and antibiotic syrups in water as this will speed up the rehydration process for birds. “Giving dehydrated birds electrolytes mixed in water is the best way to help them, but adding honey to water may encourage the bird to drink faster. Replace the water in your bowl from time to time before bacteria can grow,” said Isaac Kehimkar, deputy director, Bombay Natural History Society.

4. Do not destroy birds’ nests or fly kites

Birds’ nests built inside residential complexes need to be protected, especially if they contain eggs or chicks. Using manja (threads made from cotton and nylon) can be fatal if they trap birds, especially during the summer.

5. Inform your local veterinary hospital or animal welfare officer

If you are unable to help a dehydrated bird, do not panic. Inform the closest veterinary hospital or clinic, as well as local animal welfare officers or NGOs. “While help is on its way, try to keep the bird in a box and feed it some water. Do not force feed the bird or fill the box with water as it can enter the bird’s nose and kill it. Handle the bird with care and ensure that its feathers and claws are not damaged. Do not pour water over the bird unless it is not moving,” said Sunish Subramaniam Kunju, secretary, Plants and Animals Welfare Society-Mumbai.

First Published: May 08, 2017 15:15 IST