are birds affected by heat

Taking a dip in the water

Birds stay cool by bathing or swimming, just like humans do. Who doesn’t enjoy cooling off in a lake or river on a hot day? Birds can dissipate their body heat to the cooler water surrounding them by submerging their exposed skin. After a bath, some birds spread their wings and fluff up their feathers to catch the breeze, which helps them cool off even more.

How Do Birds Handle the Heat?

Imagine it’s hot, and you’re trying to stay cool. Imagine trying to beat the heat without access to air conditioning, an ice-cold pitcher of lemonade, or even the capacity to perspire.

Welcome to the life of a bird.

It seems impossible to humans, but for birds, it’s part of the job. From scorching deserts to freezing oceans, birds have developed incredible methods for regulating their body temperatures. Some species modify their behavior when extreme weather hits. Others take advantage of unique natural adaptations. (After all, plenty of avian species can trace their evolutionary history to eras when global temperature averages were much higher. So maybe all that dinosaur blood coursing through their veins is helping?)

Check out some of the incredible ways birds combat the heat:

Wading birds, like scarlet ibises, use their long, thin legs as a means of staying cool.

Wading birds, such as flamingos and ibises, have long, thin, featherless legs that make it easy to release heat from their bodies. When the blood circulates up and down their legs, heat dissipates through their skin. This natural method of thermoregulation gets a boost when the birds’ feet are submerged in cool water. (It even works in reverse! Watch how flamingos at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo use hot water to stay warm in winter.)

Take a Dip Image:

Cool water helps birds regulate their body temperatures.

Did you know? Birds, like mammals, are warm-blooded. This implies that they generate heat from their own bodies rather than depending on their environment. Indeed, certain untamed avian species in your backyard, such as blue jays and robins, produce so much heat internally that their typical body temperatures can reach 109 degrees Fahrenheit, or 42 degrees Celsius!

Fortunately, birds have some reliable ways to avoid overheating. A quick soak is one of the best ways for birds to stay cool. Their feathers’ moisture allows heat to leave their bodies quickly. When the heat gets too intense, backyard birds can find refuge in fountains, birdbaths, and other water features.


What temperature is too hot for my bird?

Usually the ambient temperature is lower than the bird’s body temperature, and the bird’s metabolism produces heat to keep warm. But when the outside air rises above about 40 degrees C (104 degrees F) the bird’s metabolic heat will cause it to get too warm. So the bird needs to cool down.

Are birds bothered by hot weather?

At the same time, you can be sure that the birds in our backyards are also affected by the temperatures, which sometimes seem more fitting for the Mojave Desert than for Georgia. Yet, while birds cannot escape the heat like we can, their unique physical adaptations and behavior enable them to weather it.

Where do birds go when it’s really hot?

Most likely, they have retreated to cooler, shady places, such as the branches of a tree. With a little luck, they may catch a breeze up in the top branches. Bathing is another way to cope with the heat, especially if the water temperature is cooler than the air.

Are birds sensitive to heat?

Many bird species are sensitive to temperature changes, so they have a role to play as harbingers of a changing climate.