Birds struggle to survive in burning Indian heat

Bird in tree, animal news
Bird in tree, photo: Nicolas DC on Unsplash

Around 2,000 birds were treated in an animal hospital in the city of Ahmedabad in India in the past month. Many animals were weak and severely dehydrated, some with broken wings after falling from trees.

India has been suffering from record-breaking temperatures which have made life miserable for humans and animals. Experts warned that climate change is making extreme heatwaves more intense and more frequent.

“We receive daily at least 50 to 60 dehydrated birds,” Gira Shah, co-founder of the Jivdaya Charitable Trust that manages the animal hospital, told news agency AFP, adding that temperatures have soared up to 46 degrees Celsius (115 degrees Fahrenheit).

The extreme heat has overlapped with the end of the breeding season for some bird species, resulting in many baby birds being treated in the facility.

Every day, rescuers bring the birds in cardboard boxes or baskets to the hospital, where they are weighed, tagged and examined by a veterinarian.

The birds are treated, but around one in four do not survive due to the severity of their dehydration or from the resulting complications. Recovered birds are kept in an aviary until they can be released back into the wild.

Sherwin Everett has worked at Jivdaya since 2010. This year’s heatwave has been among the worst for local birds he has ever seen. “We are expecting until July to have multiple heatwaves, and the temperature will get worse,” Everett said.

“Right now, we have received quite a lot of birds that have been dehydrated,” he added. “But the upcoming months seem to be pretty dire for us as well.”

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