Birds are warm-blooded (endothermic) animals. Their body temperature is about 40 degrees, which is much higher than humans. As soon as winter comes, many species migrate to warmer places, where food is assured. Others live in their natural habitats and adapt their vital rhythms, so they eat more to increase their body mass, or change their body configuration to protect against the cold with more plumage. but What happens to birds living in captivity? In general, domestic birds are more affected by the cold than wild birds., because their feathers are not warm enough. Tropical species, such as parrots or parakeets, are very sensitive to low temperatures; The same happens with smaller species, such as canaries. Here are some practical tips to protect your feathered companion from the cold.
Wings, legs and extra fat to survive the winter
To combat the cold, birds have three great allies: Reserve the wings, legs and fat.
Feathers provide insulation to the body. The denser the plumage, the greater the protection. Because of this many species they double their wings when autumn comesThus preparing for the winter. For example, the goldfinch displays about 2,000 feathers in the late season of the year.
The feet of birds also help to maintain the body temperature above the temperature recorded outside. They are covered in scales and have a circulatory system that prevents heat loss., It is not difficult for these animals to walk on frozen fields.
Food is also important. Birds change and increase their diet to increase their body fat stores, During colder months they can weigh 15 to 20% more without this variation in scale affecting their ability to fly. The extra layer of fat they store in autumn and winter serves as the body’s insulation and as an energy source for generating heat.
How to know if a bird is cold?
There are very clear signs that tell that a bird is getting cold. if they hollow out their wings, adopting a rounded shape This means they need more heat: it’s nature’s way of creating a warm air chamber to better maintain body temperature. this is also a sign Birds stick to each other, especially while sleeping.
if the animal your activity decreases and you become drowsy, we are faced with another very clear indicator. Birds enter a state of torpor, or semi-lethargy, slowing their metabolism. Thus they require fewer calories to maintain the heat needed to survive. Wild birds often activate this mechanism when the weather is very extreme. Some species can drop their body temperature as low as 15 degrees on the coldest days.
5 ways to save a bird from the cold
Not protecting our bird from low temperatures can affect its health. These five recommendations will make the coldest days more bearable for birds, especially the most sensitive.
The cage is well located and equipped
the cage should be located in a sunny place, so that the bird can benefit from this natural source of heat. Likewise, it should not be exposed to drafts. If you are abroad, you have to cover the area of the cage exposed to the airEspecially if it blows from the north. Placing a cloth or cardboard as a cover is a practical and simple solution.
It is also important to pay attention to the winter equipment of the cage. put more fiber or cotton in the nest Providing the animal with an additional contribution of warmth is of great help: this will undoubtedly increase its comfort.
cover the cage at night
If the temperature drops too much at night, it is advisable to cover the cage with a little blanket, This measurement is better than placing it next to a heat source. Remember that you must always leave an open area for oxygen to enter; If the bird is very unruly, avoid placing the blanket directly on the bars so it doesn’t get tangled with its legs or beak. When an animal is sick or very young, a blanket is almost essential.
The type of diet affects the cold resistance of birds. Increase the oleic acid value of food It is important to be taken up by the animal, as it helps to generate a large layer of fat. The ideal is to increase the supply of sunflower seeds or oil: in specialized stores they have special preparations for the winter months. foods rich in vitamin c They are also indicated at these times of the year, as they strengthen the immune system and help the bird not get sick.
Pay attention to the position of its wings
Bird feathers are their natural coat. If they are few or weak, they will not protect the animal’s body and cause it to freeze (or experience it soon). there are Vitamin supplements and food supplements which help in solving these problems. To be effective, they must be supplied early enough, preferably in the fall.
Keep it from getting wet
Water and cold are not good companions. It is recommended in the winter months remove the toilet, If they are necessary for the bird to maintain its daily hygiene, they should be filled with warm water and removed after bathing. except, flush cage drinkers should disappear To keep the bird from getting wet. Special care should also be taken to protect the cage from rain or snow: on wet days, it is better to spend them indoors.