4 Jan 2013
Surviving the heat
Hello my dear friends, and a Very Happy New Year to every one of you. I do hope your Christmas break was as happy and refreshing as ours was. We're home again now, and back at work on AO6. Who would believe it, honestly? The beginning of our sixth year of homeschooling. It's proving to be a truly marvellous term, and I have lots to talk to you about already - great books being the predominant thing, but a few other things as well.
Jemimah and I will be heading back to Melbourne tomorrow for our annual fortnight of VicSwim swimming lessons. We have always found this to be a gentle way of easing back into the school year whilst still retaining a little of the holiday spirit - morning swimming and afternoon school with a few visits to places like the zoo and the museum thrown in for good measure.
We were going to leave for the city this afternoon, but the weather forecast of 43°C (110°F) has put paid to that idea, since we have air-con here but not in our Melbourne home. Fire warnings for our area of Central Victoria are in the Extreme range, and temperatures are expected to stay that high until early next week. Please pray that we don't have a repeat of Black Saturday. In 2009, 374 deaths were attributed to the week-long Black Saturday heatwave.
Jemimah and I spent a bit of time in the garden this morning cleaning out and refilling birdbaths for our feathered friends. On days like today it is particularly important that they have cool clean water to drink and bathe in. They prefer it in dappled shade, so we put some additional pot saucers out this morning as well.
We love watching the comical antics of birds at our baths as they drink, bathe, and preen. It is interesting to see the pecking order as well. Some species are pugnatious bullies, and often it's the little birds. Often on hot days we spot species that we rarely see, forced into the open by the need for water. When the temperature soars into the 40s, a bird’s capacity to regulate its body temperature becomes limited. Since birds don't sweat, excess body heat is removed through the respiratory system, and a heat-stressed bird will pant like a dog. You will also see birds holding their wings away from their bodies, and showing signs of obvious agitation.
Providing birdbaths on a day like today can be a true lifesaver for the birds. If you live in Victoria, could I ask you to remember your feathered friends today too? Please?
What are you doing to beat the heat?