Thousands of birds are thirsty and dry due to heat in India

Persistent hot weather debilitates many species of birds, falling from the nest and facing death from severe dehydration or related complications.

Doctor treats a dehydrated bird.  Photo: AFP

Doctor treats a dehydrated bird. Picture: AFP

A veterinary clinic in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad treated about 2,000 birds last month, many of them weakened and severely dehydrated, some with broken wings after falling from trees.

“Every day we receive at least 50 to 60 dehydrated birds,” Gira Shah, co-founder of the charity Jivdaya, which runs the hospital, told AFP. According to Shah, local temperatures have risen to 46 degrees Celsius. The heatwave coincides with the end of the breeding season for some bird species, resulting in large numbers of chicks and growing feathers that require on-site treatment.

Volunteers and many residents regularly bring boxes and bird baskets to the hospital. There, the vet registers, weighs, labels and checks their condition. The birds were treated as appropriate for their condition, but 1 out of 4 did not survive due to severe dehydration or related complications. Convalescent birds are kept in cages until they can be released back into the wild. People who are disabled due to injuries are sent from the hospital to a zoo or educational institution.

Veterinarian Nidhi Sharma treated parakeets, hawks and hawks rescued from the streets. Rescuers believe the kite bird, weakened by the heat, fell to the ground from a nest in a tree nearly 15 meters tall.

Manager Sherwin Everett, who has worked at Jivdaya Hospital since 2010, said this year’s heatwave has been one of the worst for the local bird population he has seen.

Scorching temperatures were recorded in India and Pakistan in the last days of April. The temperature reached 49 degrees Celsius in Jacobabad, Pakistan on April 30 and 47.2 degrees Celsius in Banda, India. The Indian Meteorological Department confirmed that the average April temperature in many areas of the northern and central region reached the highest level in more than 100 years.

Heat is common in India and Pakistan at this time of year. But scientists attribute the intensity, length and duration of this year’s heat waves to rising global temperatures. Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute for Tropical Meteorology, said global warming is the main cause of the increase in heat. Experts predict that by the end of this week and next, high temperatures will surpass 50 degrees Celsius in parts of north-west India and Pakistan.

A khang (Corresponding Business Insider/Guardian)