As the temperature begins to rise (even if it is only for a day at a time at the moment...) we need to start thinking about our wildlife. It may feel as though your garden isn't home to a trove of wildlife, but if you stop and think about it.. there are hundreds of critters moving through your garden every day! Insects, birds, frogs, reptiles and a little further out of town kangaroos, wallabys, wombats and even echidnas! Providing water in safe, shady locations for the creatures in your neighbourhood can literally save lives.
Personally I love a bird bath. Not only do they provide a wonderful place for birds to drink, splash and cool off, they allow me to get a good look at the birds in my yard! My bird bath sits under a big shady tree on my front deck. The tree provides cover for the birds in between drinks and also ensures the water stays cool on the hottest days. I love to sit in the window and watch the birds, as do my kids and dogs.
Keeping a few water bowls at different heights is a great idea to ensure all of the wildlife in your garden has easy, safe access to water.
Please use only shallow bowls so small animals do not drown, you may also like to add a few rocks or sticks so they are easily able to crawl out. Avoid using metal bowls as they will become hot and may burn their feet or paws.
Place water in shady, quiet spots, away from human activity and safe from your pets.
Birds and other animals that life in trees will appreciate bowls and water bottles hung at different heights. Nailing a plastic bowl/ bucket to a tree or fence or hanging a modified water bottle will keep these critters happy.
On particularly hot days, setting up your hose to mist a shady corner in the garden will create a haven for wildlife. You may not always see the animals using your water as they prefer privacy and will probably use it when you're not looking. If you do get to see some of the animals using your offerings, snap a photo if you can, we'd love to see it too!
If you do see animals showing signs of heat stress, you may have to take further steps. Please call us, Wildlife Victoria or an Animal Emergency Centre for advice before attempting to move the animal.