Baby birds suffering in Spanish heatwave

Three baby swifts calling on a tree, animal news
Baby swifts, photo Canva

Spain’s heatwave is causing extreme stress to baby birds who fall out of nests as they try to escape the high temperatures. Bird experts have already treated many dehydrated, and undernourished swifts found on the floor.

In many parts of Spain, temperatures surpassed 40 degree Celsius (104°F). “This early and intense heatwave that we are all living through these days, and keeping in mind that it will be more frequent in the future due to climate change,” Luis Martinez, urban biodiversity technician at SEO Birdlife, said.

“This especially affects birds that are breeding and have their baby birds in nests [on roofs or in buildings] that are exposed to very high temperatures,” Martinez said.

“And many birds that live in small holes that reach very high temperatures will die scorched or have to jump out of the nest before they are ready and fall on the ground. These are the birds we find on the floor when we walk through our city streets,” he added.

The average daily temperature during the first two weeks of June in some parts of Spain has been above the normal average. Madrid residents sought shelter under umbrellas to cope with the heat. The central city of Albacete broke a record temperature in June with 41 C.

“Birds are suffering, especially in this very early heat wave in June that we are having in Spain. Birds who nest in buildings in these enclosed spaces in which we people suffer the heat. They [birds] don’t have air conditioning systems, they don’t have overhead fans, so they suffer especially from heat stress and thirst,” David Howell, climate and energy advisor, said.

Young storks were seen mimicking their parents’ behaviour and defecating on their own legs to cool down, which is called urohidrosis.

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