This is Why Birds Behave So Strangely in the Heat

The summer heat not only makes people and dogs sweat a lot but also the birds in the garden. Perhaps you have already noticed in the past few days that when the temperature rises, they behave very differently than usual. Your animal world explains the background.

Birds Pant Like Dogs

In contrast to humans, birds cannot simply undress when it gets warm; they always keep their plumage on. In addition, they cannot sweat like mammals – they can only give off heat at all through parts of their body that have no feathers, such as legs or parts of the head.

The result ensures bizarre behavior: some birds will stand on a branch and spread their wings wide – in the hope that a cool breeze will cool them down. Other birds such as blackbirds or carrion crows sit in your garden with their bills wide open and breathe in and out very quickly. It is like a dog panting.

Waterfowl hop into paddling pools – or anything else where they can briefly wet their legs.

Suddenly Everyone is Gone

Especially in the midday heat, it can happen that you suddenly don’t even spot a bird in your garden. If it gets too hot, birds like to look for a shady spot and reduce their activities to a minimum. That costs less energy. You just sit there quietly, not giving a peep.

If you want a garden full of birds even in summer, offer them plenty of trees and sheltered shady spots. You can offer your feathered friends something to drink with bird baths or a saucer with a flower pot – even birds have to drink plenty of fluids when it is hot. There should be a stone in the flower pot coaster that serves as a landing place for the birds.

Every Now and Then a Sunbath

Don’t worry: if you see a bird lying flat on the ground in the garden in the summer with its wings outstretched – it is just sunbathing. Many garden birds such as thrushes or the wren lay motionless in the middle of the sun for long periods of time. This is used to care for the plumage: exposure to the sun keeps the feathers supple and combats parasites.

What is the Stork Doing There?

The stork invented a really not particularly appetizing method to cool down: When it is hot, he rubs himself with liquid excrement. When the water then evaporates, it draws heat from the body. So don’t be surprised if storks often have white legs in summer …

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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