Summer care

S. Vishwanath
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Place a bowl of water in your garden or terrace to slake the thirst of birds and other creatures, says water activist S. Vishwanath

In this part of the world old-timers believe that with the arrival of the festival of Shivaratri winter departs from the land. We then prepare for summer. Particularly on the water front, summer is a time of shortage and limited availability of water. While generally all our thinking of water supply is around human beings, spare a thought to the other creatures that occupy our immediate environs. The city is host to many butterflies on whose migration path it lays. A damp spot of earth in a cool shady place is what provides water for the butterflies. It is similar with honey-bees. They may drown even in the shallowest of waters as they are not geared to lift themselves out of water. Damp earth provides them enough of the liquid refreshment. Even a small plate filled with sand or earth and kept wet is enough.

For the birds and there are still many of them, a bowl of water is ideal. Not too deep and enough to give them a grip with their feet. Of course many love to get a dip in them too and a bird bath is an awesome thing to watch.

Remember to put some floating plants in the water and do add guppy fish in it.

The guppies will keep the water free from mosquitoes. Do regularly check for mosquito larvae and clean the water bowls if they are found and replace with fresh water.

Ideal stuff

Water with high chlorine is not preferred by the insects and birds and so that water which is stored for some time is best. Water from wells and borewells is ideal.

A small private spot in the garden is good. The terrace too can work very well and water can be kept in balconies if that is all the space we have. It takes time for the creatures to find water but once found they tend to communicate to others as well as establish a routine. The red vented bulbul, for example, prefers the late afternoon and the Shikra the early mornings.

One has even seen snakes come and get a swig in summer and so water wisdom lies in feeding all of God’s creatures in the hot season.



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