For us, summer brings in that time of the year filled with some extraordinary bird song. As the first light of the sun kisses the planet, birds gather to create nature’s most spectacular ensemble as they orchestrate the first symphony of the morning. Though, these are some of the gifts we receive from the avian world but ever wondered why is it that birds pick such time to start a family?
Summer is also that time of the year where the mercury rises to unbearable proportions, compelling us to find ways to cool down excessively. Yet, somehow, most species of birds prefer to breed and nest during months when temperatures peak. Apart from the excruciating heat and the risk of dehydration, other threats include turbulent weather and active predators looking for a meal. With such factors to consider, many would question the timing to mate and rear the young under such extreme conditions. However, despite the looming peril that could potentially threaten a species survival, there isn’t a better time as summer is brimming with favourable conditions that outweigh the cons. By understanding the key components required by birds to raise a healthy brood, we shall look at the ideal environment summer provides in helping new avian life reach adulthood.
Raising a protecting the young requires much responsibility an effort. For birds, they need to observe and tune in to the conditions that are favourable to ensure reproductive success. This requires a great deal of expertise as they rely on their genetic intelligence to assess their requirements.
With temperatures rising, water is the best source that keeps many factors under account. Not only does it regulate the temperature of the environment but birds need it to bath and quench their thirst. It also nourishes plants, fruits, and insects which birds are highly dependent on for their sustenance.
A nutritionally-rich source of food is essential to rear a chick. While it’s important to feed them with optimal nourishment, it’s important for parents to sustain themselves too. During breeding, an adult needs to make several rounds back and forth to feed the ever-growing appetite of nestling. Most birds in this case resort to a protein-rich insect diet, even though they’re diet might be predominantly comprised of seeds, nectar, and fruits. Bulbuls and Hornbills are great examples of this behavior.
- Nesting Sites
Birds require much-needed territory to protect their offspring. A suitable habitat is critical to for birds’ nesting needs which includes foraging areas, and safe shelter to protect themselves from bad weather or predators. Birds engage in stiff competition from species of their own to other birds that are seeking the ideal spot for a temporary home. During this time, they engage in territorial scuffle which ensures they secure the prime real estate for their future.
Varying among different species, time is of the essence. Raising the young could potentially range from a few weeks to several months or in some cases, longer. Birds require enough time to foster their young, from when the eggs are first laid, incubated, to when juvenile birds are ready to fledge and fend for themselves.
How Summer Meets Breeding Needs
- More Sunlight
Taking stock of more light means, longer days and more hours are at a birds disposal during summer. This gives them plenty of time to forage to feed hungry nestlings.
- Food Availability
With flowers in bloom and tress bearing fruit, there’s an abundance in food for the feathered denizens of our planet. This ripple effect also includes insects that that thrive during these months, which serve as satiable spread for many species of birds.
- Monsoon Showers
Summer implies that water will soon become available and with more water, there’s more life. The chicks have a regulated climate that provides them with the much needed respite after the hot summer months. Insect and reptile activity too increases, which means food is more abundant than before.
How You Can Help
Understanding the requirements and limitations of birds during the summer month will equip you to help them better. Currently bird populations are under decline due to many man induced reasons. This will help us give back to a community of life that supports our very own existence on this planet. Without them, our world wouldn’t ever be the same.
- Keeping a bath with fresh water will help them quench their thirst and cool off
- Setting up smaller structures in your backyard will give them a foundation to build their nest in a protected area away from predators. Many of these include pets as well as feral animals, that could mean harm.