Do Feathers Keep Birds Cool in the Summer?

By Prev Info - October 17, 2022

 Feathers help regulate body temperature. Birds, unlike mammals, may not have sweat glands to regulate their body temperature, but God has compensated for this in a variety of ways to keep birds cool in summer and warm in winter. Feathers are an important ally when it comes to adapting to more extreme weather conditions.

Feathers  Birds

Sunscreen Factor

Birds use their feathers as a sunscreen on hot summer days, pulling them close to their bodies to block out the sun and maintain a consistent temperature. The principle works in reverse when temperatures rise -- they fluff out their feathers to increase their thickness, creating a cocoon that insulates them from the cold winter winds.

Cool Breezes

Cool breezes on stifling hot summer days are a blessing to most living creatures, and our feathered friends are programed to make the best of them. When cooling breezes blow, birds instinctively spread their feathers to expose their bodies and allow the air to cool their hot skin. Keep indoor pet birds away from windows and direct sunlight, and close indoor blinds to screen out the sun. 

Tropical birds such as parrots can better acclimatize to hot weather; depending on how well your bird tolerates heat, you may need to place it in an air-conditioned room or temporarily position its cage close to a fan until temperatures fall. This allows the bird to take advantage of the air movement created by an air conditioner or fan. If you keep pet birds outdoors, moved them to a cool shaded area and consider moving them indoors on extremely hot days.

Bird Baths

A cool bath is indispensable in helping reduce body temperature on hot days. Sea birds like gulls have a natural advantage, but all birds like a quick dip, and hospitably providing a garden bird bath for wild birds and bathing facilities for pet birds gives them a welcome reprieve. The water seeps through their feathers and cools their skin. Feathers also function as a natural air-conditioning system after a refreshing bath, because birds typically raise their feathers to allow cooling breezes to waft against their wet skin after bathing. 

Garden bird baths should have clean water that the birds can also drink and should be no more than 1 to 2 inches deep. Pet bird baths, which can be placed inside the cage or attached to the side of it, should be either 1 or 2 inches deep, depending on the size of your bird. Consult your veterinarian if you are unsure how much water to place in indoor bird's bath.

Alternative Ways to Keep Cool

Feathers aren’t birds’ only means of regulating their body temperatures. Birds typically retreat to shaded areas when they feel too hot. Just as mammals sweat, birds pant to increase their respiratory rate and dissipate body heat. Some large-billed tropical birds like the toucan can release heat by increasing the blood supply to their bills. Gulls present only their most reflective body parts -- head, neck and breast -- to direct sunlight.





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