Birds, Bees and Heat Exhaustion

Posted July 28, 2021 by Vindi Sekhon

Why Birds and Bees?

Essential to our environment, birds and bees are valuable contributors to our ecosystem. In fact, both species pollinate native British Columbian plants, flowers, and fruits while maintaining local plant diversity.

With wild bee species declining at an alarming rate, it is no surprise that eight wild bee species are on Canada’s species risk registry, with three considered endangered after a large population loss.

The recent heatwave and ongoing wildfires have created a hostile environment for wildlife, and already unstable species (like many birds and bees) are suffering because of this.

Wildfires and Birds

While small and easily extinguishable wildfires that popped up historically in BC have been easy to escape for birds, massive wildfires that set new precedents every year are much

harder to flee, causing large-scale damage to forests and entire ecosystems. Fires like the ones that have swept through in 2021 have caused numerous bird species to migrate early in search of food and shelter.

As well, the increase in smoke makes simple activities incredibly hard for many small birds, and as wildfires sweep through dry forests there are fewer and fewer areas where they can seek rest.

Wildfires and Bees

Like birds, bees are also facing trouble because of heat exhaustion and wildfires. Large amounts of wildfire smoke screw up the internal ‘compass’ of bees which relies on the position of the sun, and ash makes it hard for the small pollinators to breathe, taste, and even smell.

The increase in heat has also exhausted many bees that rely on cool temperatures, making it harder for them to persevere and pollinate local plants.

How to help?

Thankfully, there are many ways we can help birds and bees stay safe this summer, such as…

  • Using sugar water! Many bees, exhausted after a day in the heat, may need A great way to make sure bees stay energized is by feeding a tired bee sugar water. If a drowsy bee ends up in your house, try feeding it sugar water (two tablespoons of granulated white sugar to one tablespoon of water), which can be put on a spoon for the bee to reach.
  • Planting native flowers. Many bees and birds rely on local plants for their survival. Planting shrubs, bushes, and flowers indigenous to BC can supply them with nectar, a place to rest, and more!
  • Leaving out water. Birds and bees get tired from being in the sun all day and often need a place to cool down. Leaving out a small saucer for bees and a birdbath for local birds gives them a chance to take a break. Of course, make sure to wash your baths often!

Of course, helping injured birds is a great way to help! If you see a bird that has exposed bone or blood, bugs or insects covering it, no feathers, or a bird that is sleeping, human intervention is required. Call Wildlife Rescue’s Support Centre at 604-526-7275. To help us return your call quickly, please leave your contact information and observation.

Our bird and bee friends help us so much – let’s give them a hand!

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