How Birds Keep Their Cool on Hot Summer Days

August 26, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

We’ve had quite a few days this summer when the temperature reached the high 80’s and sometimes low 90’s.  When the humidity is high it doesn’t even need to be that warm to be uncomfortable.  Luckily for us humans, we can go into an air conditioned building or vehicle and cool down.

What about wildlife?  What can they do?  We’ve all seen mammals, like our pet dogs and cats, breathe heavy.  They pant!  But what about the birds you see standing in direct sun for long periods of time.  Every species of animal needs to maintain its body temperature.

The Great Blue Heron comes to mind.  How does a Great Blue Heron remove heat from its body? 

The Great Blue Heron, among other birds, vibrate their gular (throat tissues). With an open mouth, the moist gular area is rapidly vibrated, thereby causing a very efficient form of evaporative cooling.

Click on the video below to see a Great Blue Heron cooling itself by gular fluttering.

Great Blue Heron

 

Thanks for looking,

Dan


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