Wednesday, June 30, 2021

PNW Heat Wave: Day 3

We broke the all time heat record yesterday.  All. Time. Yay! And yes, I do feel a sense of accomplishment, and victory, in surviving it. (Don't laugh Nevadans and Arizonans!)

Oh, almost was 109 degrees.

The misters worked incredibly well. It is the closest thing to having AC in the barn. Both Cowgirl and Epona made good use of them. They will today, too. Even though they're predicting a mere 106 degrees. pfft. 

Here's a video from our barn camera, where you can see Cowgirl moving into the mist. Epona learned to do it, too, because she copies everything mama does. It makes it a good training opportunity for Epona to accept water.

Here's Epona sleeping in the cool mist.

It worked so well that my husband installed them in the loafing shed.

We were lucky to find the supplies, because they sold out of misters everywhere. My husband purchased the last package of misting heads.

So, that was a success.  But we had other heat / barn drama--a family of birds who were overwhelmed by the heat, and their baby birds fell out the nest, unable to fly. They became severely weak and dehydrated.

Shiloh and I brought one back to the house and got it to drink water through a dropper.

We searched the internet for what to do next, and found an article that said we should either put it back in the nest or create a new nest near it. Off we went to the barn, and found its siblings, also stressed and hiding on the ground.

We were able to get water into all of them. They opened their beaks and drank from the syringe. But when we got a ladder, and placed them back in their nest, they immediately fell out again. It was just too hot in the nest.

Mama and daddy were watching all of this, and trying to teach their birds to fly.

Our solution was to make a nest in an old grain bucket and place it high enough that the cats couldn't reach it, and near the original nest.

And we placed some water in the nest.

It worked great. All three birds seemed to gather their strength, and when the temps dropped, at about 10 pm, my husband I tried putting them back in their real nest again. Two hunkered down, but one flew out, and I couldn't find it.

I went out to close gates and fill water troughs, then returned to see if I could find the baby bird. Unfortunately, my barn cat had already found it.

That was sad, and I didn't have much hope for the other two, but this morning I went out, and there they were, perched on the edge of their nest, looking strong and happy.  Mama and daddy were nearby trying to get them to fly.

I hope they make it. It's a reminder, though, of how this heat affects so many other animals--and the ecosystem as a whole.


  1. The misters are a great idea and working really well. Good call. Epona looks so adorable napping. What a cutie. Sorry to hear about the bird that didn't make it but it's good the other two are doing well. Hang in there this has got to end soon.

    1. Our forecasted temps have dropped into the 90’s. I hope they’re right! A storm came through last night that no one predicted would move our way. Weather always holds back its cards, and surprises you! If that’s accurate, we will be in much better territory now. I think I’ll even be able to leave the house for a few hours! Yay! And good timing, the Governor opened up our state yesterday.

  2. 109? We hit a paltry 106 today- with 53% humidity.
    I would love to have misters but since our only power for the horses is supplied by our generator it isn't an option. At least you were able to save 2 of the fledglings. I have buckets of water out in the barnyard and the wasps are happy, they land on the water, drink, then fly off. I made sure to bend a couple of stalks of grass into the water so bugs could crawl out, but the wasps don't need them.

    1. That was smart of you. We’ve been invaded by a flock of starlings, and they’re keeping the bug population down. They’d even get rid of us and our dogs, if they could! Very aggressive birds. They’re constantly attacking one of our hounds and even tried for the puppy.

  3. I am in the exact same situation with the swallows. They are doing better and not staying where I put them so I have the whole barn set up to keep out the chickens.

    1. I wish I could lock up my cats, but the barn is their home. They’re just doing what they do. I tell them to only eat mice and voles, but they just purr and smile up at me, and wait for another fledgling to drop. I don’t know how it ended for the other two. Hopefully, at least one was able to fly properly.

    2. So far all three are alive.

  4. The misters must feel sooo good, and give you peace of mind too. It's sweet that you helped the swallows. Sorry you lost one. The others will hopefully enjoy cooler days.

    1. The misters were a lifesaver, but they do make a mess of the stall. The ones in the loafing shed were off yesterday because the horses didn’t want to get wet, and it was keeping them out of their shelter. True AC would be the best deal! But with our power shortage, AC in a barn is probably not a good use of resources anyway. So, back to misters! Horses are able to withstand a lot. My geldings kept standing out in full sun. They refused to seek shade. I finally let them out to graze, figuring if they’re going to be in the sun anyway, they might as well be enjoying life. They still had access to shade, and went back and forth in it.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.