At the Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) Hospital, located at Parel, a minimum of 10 birds are being brought in for heat-related treatment every day. According to Col (Retd) J C Khanna, secretary, BSPCA, “This year, the summer arrived by March 15 and hence it has affected birds a lot. Generally, we get to see such cases only after April 10. However, this year, the facility is already flooded with injured birds.”
He added, “While most of the injured birds that are brought in are pigeons, this year several other species, including quails, koels and a seagulls, have been admitted for treatment.” Recently, a family that was on its way back to the city from Pune, rescued a heat-struck falcon near Dombivli and admitted it to the hospital.
Dr Deepa Katyal-Engineer, a vet and a bird lover, said, “This year, we have started receiving cases about two to three weeks earlier than usual. There are so many birds that are being brought in by the locals. Apart from birds, even dogs are coming with gastro cases because of the heat.” Apart from being treated for their injuries, birds are given glucose water and are released back into their respective habitats within a week’s time. However, if a particular bird is too weak to survive on its own, tit is kept under observation at the hospital until it recovers fully.
What you can do
According to animal lovers, a small bowl of water outside your residence, on terraces and places easily accessible for the birds, is enough to save their lives. Since birds wander to faraway places in search of water during summers, they fall prey to dehydration and heatstroke, which can prove fatal at times. Col Khanna says, “People should keep water in small bowls, but should ensure that they change it at regular intervals because the water becomes hot.”