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In the heat of the summer, a majority of wildlife emergencies are due to dehydration. Our temperatures can soar over 110 degrees for multiple days on end without rain. Birds of prey receive most of their water through the food they eat, such as rodents and small birds; however, providing an alternate source of water can help them. Unfortunately, if done improperly, it can also hurt them. To best help our wildlife, please follow the guide below.
Make the water shallow and easily accessible. Natural water sources like puddles and lakes are sloped, creating easy access to and from water. Unfortunately, man-made structures are usually steep and slippery. Five-gallon buckets, large bowls filled with water, and even water troughs can pose a danger to wildlife. Quail commonly drown in sources such as this, so please use something shallow. Please cover water storage bins or provide a sloped area with rocks or sticks to help the animal if gets trapped.
Place a water source away from the home. Attracting songbirds with a water source is fine, although it will attract more than birds--rodents, bunnies, coyote, fox, or whatever else you have running around your area. By providing an alternate source farther away, you can help other wildlife that you may not want close to your home. This has can also save car wires. Animals don't understand plastic, and in the heat of the summer when they are in constant search of water, colored wires under your car look like a water source.
Keep it clean. Man-made water sources can be a breeding space for bacteria, viruses, and mosquitoes. Since there is no natural movement or plant life to circulate and clean the water, communicable diseases can be easily transferred where animals are drinking and bathing.
Please rinse out water sources regularly and clean with a 10/1 bleach solution weekly.
A water source does not have to be expensive. Beautiful setups have been made with terracotta, serving dishes, garbage pail lids, and the list goes on.
We can all help animals survive the Arizona heat by providing safe, clean water sources.