If you’re fond of birds and worry about how they’re managing in the hot summer sun, you can relax. Wild birds in particular are exceptionally well adapted to hot climates. The reason why they are able to withstand most sweltering summer days and heat waves is because they have both behavioural and physical characteristics, which enable them to stay cool and comfortable. Birds actually have a naturally higher body temperature than other creatures, which measures around 40 degrees Celsius. Their active lifestyle and high metabolic rate create even more heat, and two basic types of adaptations make it possible for them to thrive in high external temperatures: physical and behavioural.
Physical Characteristics That Are Helpful
Birds in hot climates are able to stay cool thanks to various physical characteristics they have developed over the course of evolution, despite the fact that they don’t have sweat glands. Examples of these characteristics include:
- Beak size. Beak size varies among songbirds and helps them regulate temperature as well as sing. Birds with larger beaks tend to sing more than those with smaller ones compared to their size. Their beak size also affects mating habits, since it has a lot to the with how much songbirds will be able to sing.
- Bare skin. Located on their face, feet and legs, patches of bare skin allow birds to lose heat faster and in more volume than if they were covered in feathers throughout.
- Rate of respiration. Birds actually have fast rates of breathing and are able to dissipate heat faster than through regular breathing. At the same time, they don’t need to open their bills or pant.
Adaptations In Behaviour
The behaviour of any animal has an effect on the level of its body heat. Birds have evolved to develop yupa number of different behaviours that they can use to stay cool even in extremely hot weather. Some examples include:
- Level of activity. Birds are less active during the hottest hours and equally more active when the sun is lower and the air cooler, especially in warmer climates or on a very hot day.
- Soaring. You’ll often find birds of prey soaring at higher altitudes on particularly hot days. This is because the air temperatures are much colder in these heights even if they don’t get away from the sun.
- Panting. While birds don’t usually pant, they will adopt this behaviour on occasion in order to dissipate heat on a very hot day. They sometimes combine panting with opening their bill in order to cool down faster.
- Seeking out water. Many songbirds and backyard birds will seek out water to bathe on hot days in order to cool down their bodies. Waterfowls in particular will frequently dive beneath the surface in order to get completely soaked and cool off in the heat.
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While many birds are beautiful and play a role in an ecosystem, there are also nuisance birds and especially in various urban areas. If this is a problem you are plagued by, consider hiring a professional bird control specialist to help with the issue. Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control has been in the pest control business for more than two decades and has successfully helped more than 200,000 homeowners to date. Skedaddle is home to a professionally trained and highly experienced team of technicians who specialize in humane removal and exclusion methods. If you’d like to continue enjoying your bird watching activities without having to deal with pest birds seek out help from our expert team.