Help birds and hedgehogs during the heatwave

The nature organisation Natuurpunt and Bird Protection Flanders are calling on Flemings to help birds and hedgehogs living in our gardens by leaving a bowl of drinking water on the ground for them. The warm wind from the south has brought with it types of birds that are normally only seen around the Mediterranean such as vultures and the European bee-eater.

"Some types of bird, especially insect eater consume most of the water they need by drinking just once or twice a day” Jan Rodts of Bird Protection Flanders told the press agency Belga.

"Seed-eaters have to drink much more often in order to compensate for the low levels of water in their food.”

Moreover, birds need water to bathe in and keep their feathers in good condition.

The warm weather also creates issues for birds that hide their eggs under the roofing slates such as swifts and sparrows.

"It becomes quite hot under the slates and the chicks risk becoming over-heated”, Hendrik Moeremans of Natuurpunt told Belga.

"In addition to this, the warm weather also poses challenges for amphibians as dried out pools mean that their spawn has to fertilise more quickly” , Mr Moeremans added.

However, bats enjoy the warm weather as it means that there are more moths for them to eat.

The warm southerly wind has bought with it some unusual visitors such as the 47 griffon vultures seen flying over Geel (Antwerp province) on Monday.

Natuurpunt also asks that we be careful when disposing of cigarette ends and glass. Dog owners are asked to keep their pets on leads to prevent them from disturbing animals that might be sheltering from the heat.