For a feral cat, a raccoon a nearby Hawk, the circle of life can be seconds away from your bird’s cage.
Please don’t leave your bird alone outside for a moment.
The ability to maintain a high and constant body temperature enables birds to exploit a remarkable range of habitats — tropical, temperate, and polar.
This achievement is not without cost, however.
The “expense” of metabolic heat production must be repaid by taking in sufficient energy to balance what has been expended, and mechanisms must be available to shed excess heat when necessary.
If the environmental temperature falls, birds raise their metabolic rate to prevent their internal temperature from falling as well.
In contrast, if the environmental temperature becomes too hot, birds must mobilize water to lose heat through evaporative cooling (as we do when we perspire) and avoid death from overheating.
Since birds have no sweat glands, heat must be lost through the respiratory tract by panting, or in non-passerines (birds with zygodactyl feet) by the rapid vibration of the upper throat and thin floor of the mouth (“gular flutter”).
To minimize the energy cost of temperature regulation (“thermoregulation”), birds use a variety of morphological and behavioral traits to adjust their rateof heat loss and heat gain.
Unfeathered (uninsulated) body surfaces serve as important sites for heat exchange with the environment.
When heat-stressed, therefore, some birds, such as Black Vultures, excrete onto their unfeathered legs to increase heat loss by evaporation.
Emergency liquid foods for caged birds are:
- sugar water
- lemonade (noncarbonated)
- milk and egg yolk
- pediatric pedialyte
- Use a plastic eyedropper or syringe (no glass or needles!).
- Hold your bird’s head back 45 degrees. Do not put pressure on the chest, because doing so may inhibit her breathing. Instead, cradle her body and lightly tilt her head back.
- Administer one drop at a time to avoid choking your bird.
- Stroke your bird’s throat to help her swallow.
- Repeat the process, giving up to 7 drops for small birds (canaries), 10 to 15 drops for medium birds (parakeets & small conures) and up to 5 teaspoons for large birds (cockatoos).
written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing
your zygodactyl footnote
Also published on Medium.