Wondering how you can help animals and birds stuck outside amid the sweltering heat of the summer? Here are eight simple contraptions and shelters you can make to offer them food, shelter, or water.
While humans are able to acquire the food and water necessary to combat the sweltering summer, it’s not as easy for animals to do so. So a little help from us will go a long way in aiding them to get through the season.
We found some interesting and helpful tried-and-tested methods from kind souls looking to make this summer a little easier on their animal companions. Here’s how you can try them too:
1. Coconut birdhouse
While coconut water is a trusted companion in combating the heat, the whole fruit has cooling properties that can be utilised for other species, such as birds. All you have to do is dig through the coconut to make a hole, where birds can find refuge from the sun.
“A student gave this unique bird feeder to me as a gift, and it has been occupied by a family of wrens for several summers. The young often come to the opening with mouths open, hoping for adults to return with food,” wrote Mauriea Lewis-Wheeler on Pinterest by sharing the picture.
You can make this house yourself by cutting a hole using a drilling machine or a screwdriver. Hang it somewhere outside your house, and watch as tiny birds flock to it for respite.
2. Folding dog house
India is home to about 35 million stray dogs, who are often left exposed to harsh climate conditions, accidents, and abuse. While there are many individuals and organisations trying to care for at least a few, feeding and caring for them remains a divisive issue for many.
If you wish to make life easier for our furry friends outside, this folding dog house is a cost-effective way to provide them shelter. First developed in Thailand by a group called Stand for Strays, this uses the allot model, which is a functional shelter for stray dogs made out of recycled billboards. In this way, it can also help you get rid of old boards.
“The structure is easily deployable and can be set anywhere within the urban context to protect our furry friends from heavy rain and intense heat. The billboard panel is placed flat against a wall, fixed with hinges at its top, but can open at the bottom to create a tent-like canopy for any dog in need. On the back of the panel, a small platform has been installed, keeping the dog above ground level,” reported designboom.
3. Recycled bird feeder
Have you got any thermocol sheets or boxes at home which are the leftovers from some newly-bought home equipment? Go creative and use them to make a bird feeder like this.
A thermocol sheet can help you achieve a temperature drop of about 5 degrees Celsius. Place a clay pot with water and feed inside the thermocol shelter so birds can easily access them. The ideal place to position this is a terrace. Use wooden sticks or anything based on your creativity to make the feeder beautiful and useful.
4. Upcycled bird feeder
“A desi ‘kanastar’ (canister) upcycled into a cool & functional bird-feeder. Photo credit to my brother-in-law. Now I just have to convince him to make one for me too,” tweeted Charu Pragya with this picture.
Just like Charu’s brother-in-law did, you, too, can turn a canister into a bird feeder. It can easily accommodate both feed and water for birds in summer. The tin can also keep the water cold. It can be hung anywhere around a house — a hook on the terrace, or a tree.
5. Stray shelter
In the picture below, a society in Vaishali, Ghaziabad made homes for strays who are roaming without shelters in the extreme weather conditions of North India. The contraption has been built in such a way that the animals can survive both summer and winter with a proper roof, blankets, and other necessities. These homes, while majorly for stray dogs, can be constructed for any animals wandering through the streets.
“In these houses, there are special shades and warm blankets so that those poor animals can take the facility of those rooms,” reported Laughing Colours.
6. Water for stray
One act of kindness can save many lives. Buy a clay pot, fill it with clean water, and place it anywhere on the street (without hindering the pathways), or even in front of your house. Stray animals like cows, dogs and cats can survive the extreme heat of summer and quench their thirst this way. Clay pots will keep the water cold throughout the day. Take some time to clean and fill them every day.
Sunny, a pharmacist and animal welfare activist from Tumkur, runs a gaushala where 500 sick, injured and old cattle are nurtured. Prior to starting the home, he used to place such pots.
“It was a pity to see animals dying of thirst. Temperatures are soaring and animals scout for water sources, which, due to the intense heat, have mostly dried up. The day I kept the first pot, I saw scores of animals drinking from it and it was a heartening sight,” he told Yahoo News.
7. Shady carts
In 2017, a picture of a bullock cart, where the bull was protected from the sun with a makeshift sack shade, began circulating on social media. It was praised as an act of kindness to animals amid a heat wave taking place at the time. Today, the temperature has risen to a higher level and the picture still matters.
“The voiceless animal got some relief from the scorching heat after its owner decided to provide shade. The picture tells the entire story of how the bull’s owner ensured that the poor animal does not have to suffer the heat,” reported Oneindia.
8. Hanging water pot
One of the easiest ways to help the birds quench their thirst is to place water pots anywhere possible. It is best to choose hanging pots that birds can easily take notice of. Traditional earthen bird feeders/ hanging pots are available online, as well as from street vendors, and can be kept on the terrace or any other outdoor area. Opting for terracotta bird baths is also a great idea.
“Pin on Wildlife/ Birds”, posted by J Martin on 16 August 2011.
“Stray dogs in Thailand find shelter in folding structures made from repurposed billboards”, published by designboom on 24 April 2022.
“DIY: Use Aluminium Foil, Thermocol Sheets and Gunny Bags on Your Roof to Beat the Heat This Summer”, published by The Better India on 5 June 2016.
Twitter/ Charu Pragya, posted on 24 May 2020.
“Ghaziabad Society Sets Perfect Example Of Humanity By Making Special Shelters For Strays”, published by Laughing Colours on 11 January 2021.
“How A Group Of Animal Lovers Is Ensuring Availability of Water For Stray Animals”, published by Yahoo News on 28 April 2016.
“Animals feel the heat too: This picture will touch your heart”, published by OneIndia on 21 April 2017.
“Earthen bird feeders: Affordable options to keep water for free birds in summers”, published by Times of India on 18 January 2021.
Edited by Divya Sethu