It’s so hot in India that birds are falling out of the sky

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A caretaker in Ahemdabad feeds multivitamin mixed with water to a parakeet after it was found dehydrated due to heatwave  (Reuters via Amit Dave)
A caretaker in Ahemdabad feeds multivitamin mixed with water to a parakeet after it was found dehydrated due to heatwave (Reuters via Amit Dave)

Birds are falling from the sky in western India due to exhaustion and dehydration as the scorching heatwave continues for the third month with the mercury set to increase further this week.

In the western state of Gujarat – where the temperature has hovered above 40C for weeks now and is set to touch 46C in several pockets – rescuers are coming across birds that have fallen from the sky every day.

The impact of the excrutiating heat on animals has been neglected so far, even as humans suffering from heatstrokes and dehydration are being treated in hospitals where separate wards for heatwave-related conditions are being set up in several areas of the state.

In this picture taken on 3 May 2022, Shervin Everett (not pictured), a hospital curator, feeds an Indian Flying Fox bat at Jivdaya Charitable Trust in Ahmedabad (Getty Images)
In this picture taken on 3 May 2022, Shervin Everett (not pictured), a hospital curator, feeds an Indian Flying Fox bat at Jivdaya Charitable Trust in Ahmedabad (Getty Images)

Conditions have deteriorated significantly for animals because this year’s heat is “one of the worst in recent times,” according to rescuers working in an animal hospital managed by nonprofit Jivdaya Charitable Trust in Gujarat.

“We have seen a 10 per cent increase in the number of birds that need rescuing,” Manoj Bhavsar, who works closely with the trust and has been rescuing birds for more than a decade, told the Reuters news agency.

Activists have been picking up these birds and taking them to the trust-run hospital to provide immediate care, including injecting water into their mouths using syringes and feeding birds multi-vitamin tablets.

A vet provides medicine to an eagle in Ahmedabad (Reuters via Amit Dave)
A vet provides medicine to an eagle in Ahmedabad (Reuters via Amit Dave)

Extreme hot spells, or heatwaves, began much earlier in India and Pakistan this year, with the first spell recorded as early as March.

Heatwaves in the subcontinent are usually reported either in May, or in some instances, in April.

While the change in the pattern of heatwaves becoming stronger and longer stems from several reasons, the underlying cause for this extreme weather event is climate change.

Additional reporting by agencies

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