[Tweeters] Birdwatering

Tucker, Trileigh TRI at seattleu.edu
Wed Jun 30 15:14:04 PDT 2021

I love this story so much. Thanks for sharing—and for spraying—Stan!

Good birding to all,

* * * * *
Trileigh Tucker
Professor Emerita of Environmental Studies, Seattle University
Pelly Valley, West Seattle
Fine art at naturalpresencearts.com/photography/portfolio<https://naturalpresencearts.com/photography/portfolio/>

From: stan Kostka lynn Schmidt <lynnandstan at earthlink.net<mailto:lynnandstan at earthlink.net>>
Date: Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at 8:47 PM
To: <tweeters at u.washington.edu<mailto:tweeters at u.washington.edu>>
Subject: [Tweeters] Birdwatering

Hi Tweets,

Over the past few days I’ve done something I’d never done before. I’ve heard of it happening, in other parts of North America (the really hot parts), but I never thought I would ever need to do it here. Call it birdwatering.

A pair of Violet Green swallows are nesting in a plywood nestbox about ten feet above my garden. They’ve been feeding young about the past ten days. Middle of last week I lowered the box and enlarged all the ventilation holes. As temps began to climb this weekend I worried. The nestbox is in full sun almost all day. I felt responsible for the young potentially dying from the heat since I put up the nestbox in the first place. Otherwise they might be nesting somewhere else. When it became apparent that the forecast heat wave was truly underway I started spraying the nestbox with water about every hour, using a two gallon pump sprayer filled from one of my rain barrels. At first I just sprayed the nestbox lightly to wet it down, but as temps went over 100, I started spraying it more, totally soaking it, top, sides, back, and bottom, about every 30 minutes. At first the adults paused and checked things out, seemingly curious as to why water was dripping off their nestbox, but they quickly returned to their routine of feeding. When the temp went over 105 I started spraying the box every 20 minutes. The temp here topped out at 109 on a high quality digital thermometer in the shade, on a patio on the north side of my house. It was scary hot outside, can only think it would have gotten deadly hot inside that box in the sun. I kept spraying until the sun went down. I wasnt doing anything else anyway, just laying on the floor inside next to the air conditioner.

Today the adults were actively feeding young all day, and I only sprayed the box twice during the hottest part of the afternoon. Temp today topped out at only about 90, most likely didn’t need to do it today, but I decided to give it a couple sprays anyway, for good luck, what the heck.

Best of luck to the birds going forward.

Stan Kostka
lynnandstan at earthlink.net<http://earthlink.net>

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