The cave birds suffocate with the heat

Nesting under roofs or in cavities to breed, so-called cave birds, such as black storm terns, are “particularly threatened” by the increasing heat over the years, as their caves can become real saunas.

Its plumage is black, its silhouette resembles a small crossbow, its legs are very short, and its claws are sharp for clinging to walls… The black swift is the “big wounded” in the middle of wild animal care L ‘Hirondelle in Saint-Forgeux in the Rhône.

“Above 34°C, the temperature feeling under the roof is another 10°C and can go up to 50°C… Like an oven, a real sauna”, explains Adeline Audibert, 36, volunteer since 2014 at the “martin pole” of this center .

“When it’s too hot, the little shrews suffocate and seek coolness, so they rush into the void or fall from the nest,” continues this apodidae enthusiast, who promises to get a tattoo on his back.

The population of this species is “in decline”, even “extremely endangered”, warns Adeline, who has seen the center recover between 800 and 900 storm wildebeests a year and welcome 200 more individuals this year compared to 2021.

This is due to the increasingly strong heat waves from year to year, but also due to the lack of food for swallows, the insects become more and more rare “when it is very hot or very cold”, adds the carer.

– “Samu for animals” –

Presented as one of the largest care centers in France in terms of the number of individuals treated (approximately 7,000 care per year of 130 different species, including 80% birds and 20% mammals), restores, treats and releases all injured wildlife reported to him in the Rhône, Loire, Drôme and Ardèche departments.

“A real samu for animals”, compares the association’s development manager, Anne Fourier, explaining that volunteers can move to recover injured wildlife from “discoverers”, people who called them to rescue animals in bad shape.

The heat wave in June was “very deadly”, “it broke records in terms of reception”, states the 37-year-old volunteer, a member of the association since 2013.

“Since the beginning of the year, we have welcomed more than 4,600 animals, including 1,600 in June alone”, says this great enthusiast, who remembers the “hell” that the center had experienced during the heat wave of 2019. It had to close its doors, having reached the maximum of its capacities.

Cave dwellers, the house swallow, the blackbird, the black robin or the house sparrow are also “strongly affected” by the heat.

After 90 swallows received in 2021, 63 have already been processed in mid-2022.

For sparrows, 233 from January to July 2022 against 181 on the same date in 2021 and 97 against 56 for black redstarts.

“When we have a peak in temperatures, we double the arrival of animals”, indicates Pascal Tavernier, the director of the center since its creation in 1998, the sign.

However, the keepers expected to receive even more birds, the 45-year-old man acknowledges. “It surely means that the heat is so strong that they were already dead”.

– “More sensitive” –

The increase in support is also explained by the development of mentality, assures Mr. Tavernier. “People are more sensitive to the plight of animals than before”.

Eva Lamourette, 24, is proof of this. Originally from Valencia, she called the center on Tuesday for a young black hazel.

“He was on the ground and not moving, he must have been dehydrated,” the discoverer said.

“I love animals and I would have had a very bad conscience if I had not done anything, it is not possible to let an animal die in the middle of a dodger”, explains the young woman in professional retraining.

Because of the heat, the center receives almost 200 calls from discoverers a day, “a huge workload and logistics”, describes Anne Fourier.

“At some point, the species that cannot stand the heat will no longer be there”, worries Pascal Tavernier on his side.

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