Keepin’ it cool for Florida’s wild birds!
It’s summertime all over Pinellas County and, like everywhere in Florida, the heat is rising in Wild Birds Unlimited’s Nature Shop and its Northwood Commons Backlot preserve area. The birds are fluttering and Scooter is sweltering! But, do we have to do anything to cool the sweaty feathers? I mean, aren’t birds sort of self-sufficient when it comes to regulating body temps? Well, in a way, yes. However, they still get hot and can actually overheat and become distressed. So it’s best for us, and our wild bird pals, if we ensure they have some comfortable respite from the sun and heat.
How do birds cool off?
Well, obviously, they’re not parading around in Kardashian attire along Florida’s shorelines to stay cool. Most backyard wild bird visitors cool themselves by ruffling their feathers and/or stretching wing to allow hot air to escape while cooler air swipes relief along their mid-sections. This is the most common way across a variety of species, that wild birds seek to cool themselves in a raging heat.
Still, there are other more unique, really interesting ways. Recently, in a 2011 study, scientists studying marsh sparrows discovered that the size of the beak will often correlate with the surrounding climate and temperatures. The hotter the climate, the larger the beak! This study made mention of the tropical Toucan whose extra large proboscis bill can regulate heat via blood flow. Guess size does matter… in some respects. *Ahem*
Meanwhile, our native wild birds, cardinals, Blue Jays and mourning doves strive for a meager bit of shade. And, while they don’t sweat, they do pant. Like dogs. This can actually wear them out rather quickly making it harder for them to lift into flight in order to evade predators. But, there are simple ways in which we can help Florida’s wild bird visitors to keep cool and comfy during Florida’s dog days of summer. Check out the videos below provided by Wild Birds Unlimited and discover ways you can help!
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