Rescuers in Gujarat are picking up dozens of weary birds every day as a sweltering heatwave dries up water sources.

Rescuers in the western Indian state of Gujarat are picking up dozens of exhausted and dehydrated birds every day, veterinarians and animal rescuers say, as a scorching heatwave depletes water sources in the state’s largest city.

Large swathes of South Asia are drying up in the hottest summer in decades, prompting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to warn of a rising risk of fires.

Doctors at an animal hospital run by the nonprofit Jivdaya Charitable Trust in Ahmedabad said they had treated thousands of birds over the past few weeks, adding that rescuers brought dozens of high-flying birds every day, such as pigeon or kite.

A caretaker feeds a parakeet mixed with multivitamins during the hot weather in Ahmedabad, India. [Amit Dave/Reuters]

“This year has been the worst year in recent years. We have seen a 10 percent increase in the number of birds in need of rescue,” said Manoj Bhavsar, who has worked closely with the trust and has worked on bird rescues for over a decade.

Animal doctors at the trust hospital were seen feeding the birds multivitamin tablets and injecting water into their mouths with a syringe on Wednesday.

Health officials in Gujarat have issued recommendations to hospitals to create special wards for heatstroke and other heat-related illnesses due to rising temperatures.

heat wave in india
A veterinarian administers a saline injection to a cat covered in a damp cloth at the Jivdaya Charitable Trust Rehabilitation Centre in Ahmedabad, India. [Amit Dave/Reuters]

Climate change causes heatwaves

All heatwaves today carry a clear and measurable fingerprint of global warming, a top expert on quantifying the impact of climate change on extreme weather said Wednesday.

They detail in a State of Science report that burning fossil fuels and destroying forests has released enough greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to increase the frequency and intensity of many floods, droughts, wildfires and tropical storms.

“There is no doubt that climate change is a huge game-changer in terms of extreme heat,” Frederick Otto, a scientist at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, told AFP.

Extremely hot weather, such as the heatwaves that swept South Asia in March and April, is already the deadliest extreme event, she said.

“Every heat wave in the world is now stronger and more likely due to human-caused climate change,” Otto and Oxford University co-author Ben Clark said in the report, which was presented as a briefing for the news outlet .