Birds in a heat wave

We are having a record breaking heat wave at present here in South Australia.

Today is the fourteenth consecutive day of above 35C (95F) maximum temperatures. One expects temperatures like this in summer – December through February – but not once autumn has arrived. The previous record of eight consecutive days of above 35C recorded in our capital city Adelaide in 1934 has well and truly been broken. The national record for a capital city was Perth at ten consecutive days in 1988 and that has been beaten thoroughly too. More is still to come; the next cool change is not expected to be here until Wednesday, so this record will be further extended over the next two days.

We normally get some relief in the evenings here in Murray Bridge. Not so this time. Thursday morning we arose at 6am to go for our daily walk. Normally at this time of the year it would be about 15-18C at that time of the day. At 30C with a hot north wind it was very uncomfortable. It is the first time I can ever remember putting on the air conditioner so that we could eat breakfast in some kind of comfort!

Brown-headed Honeyeater

Brown-headed Honeyeater

Naturally the birds suffer terribly in such oppressive heat. I have tried to keep the bird baths topped up with water each morning so that some of them have a fighting chance at survival. From first light until mid-morning there is a constant stream of birds coming to drink and/or bathe. From mid-morning to sun down there is very little calling and little movement in the garden. I guess they just find the coolest shade possible and rest up until conditions improve. At one stage I checked the temperature at about midday; the only bird I saw or heard was a Willie Wagtail bravely trying to catch a few insects silly enough to venture out on such a hot day.

Willie Wagtail

Willie Wagtail


9 Responses to “Birds in a heat wave”

  1. Nick says:

    Really nice Blog Tim. Perhaps you’d like a little look at mine over in Canada

    Take care mate


  2. John Tongue says:

    Hi Trevor,
    I really feel for you! It’s been unseasonably hot here, but nothing like that! Here’s hoping and praying fro a cool change soon.

  3. Snail says:

    Looks like there’s a change on the way to you this evening, Trevor. I’m sure you and the birds will both be grateful! If it’s not there already, I hope it arrives very soon.

  4. Trevor says:

    Thanks John and Snail.

    Today was another scorcher about 42C making our 15th day in a row over 35C. Looks like it won’t get to 16 days thankfully.

    Today really tested me out. I’m taking a short break from my studies this week only to do relief driving for my courier friend. Couldn’t get enough liquid into me – it just kept on pouring out all over. I will really appreciate the cooler days ahead.

  5. Trevor says:

    Thanks for visiting Nick.

    Just a small point – my name is Trevor, hence the name in the title of my blog.

    I did visit your blog Nick – great photos.

  6. Goedele says:

    Hello Trevor,

    I discovered your name on the website “My outings”.
    I saw you like birds aswell…
    Are you from Australia?


  7. Trevor says:

    Hi there Goedele – welcome to my blog about birds. Yes, I live in South Australia about an hour drive south east of the state capital city Adelaide. My blog is mainly about Australian birds I see in the wild.

  8. Trevor says:

    John and Snail – what a difference a day makes! The temperature struggled to get to 28C today. A very pleasant change. We also had a little drizzle for a few seconds late this afternoon. Daren’t call it rain.

  9. John Tongue says:

    Hi Trevor,
    We had a (relatively) hot day yesterday (29) and today (28), though much hotter in other parts of the State. Today was VERY smoky, with a number of fires about the place, but one particularly large and nasty blaze on the West coast. Then, about 3:00pm, ‘your’ change came through, and drpooed the temp to about 20 degrees, and blew all the smoke away (briefly). Then the smoke came back with a vengeance for a couple of hours, though it’s pretty clear again now. We had about two spits of rain with the change – really need lots more! But at least it’s nice and cool again now – about 17 degrees. It should be much easier sleeping tonight. I do hope and pray we both get some much needed rain soon.

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