How Sudden Temperature Changes Can Kill Your Beloved Parrot In Only 10 Minutes
Dangers of Heat and Cold
These weather changes can have serious impacts on our feathered companions. When I go outdoors in the heat, I perspire which allows my body to adjust to the heat somewhat. However, every day the news mentions warning about the extreme heat and the impacts it can have should the human body become overheated. Sunstroke or even death can occur.
The cold of winter brings on winds and low temperature for those living south of the Equator. Temperatures can sink below freezing. Humans bundle on layers of extra clothing to protect themselves.
Parrots, on the other hand, do not have sweat glands and do not perspire to adjust their body temperatures to the heat of summer. They can't add extra clothes to conserve body heat in the cold. The only mechanism they have available to adjust their body temperature is fluffing or compacting their feathers. This can make weather changes especially dangerous for our parrots.
Sudden Temperature Changes
The most serious dangers to parrots are sudden temperature changes and drafts. Strangely enough, parrots can adjust to elevated or lowered temperatures, within specific ranges, provided the change occurs slowly. But a sudden change in temperature can kill a parrot quite quickly.
While living in Florida years ago, our home's heater stopped working during the middle of a cold night. By the time the cold cause me to wake up, the temperature inside the house had dropped from comfortable levels to freezing cold. I rushed to take care of the birds, but one budgie had become so chilled that he became ill and later died as a result.
I've heard many stories of parrots being taken outdoors by their owners during the heat of summer only to become quickly over-heated. By the time the owners realize the parrot is in distress and act, the parrot may die.
Successfully Dealing with Temperature Extremes
I once moved during the dead of winter from Florida, where it is normally quite warm to Colorado where cold winter weather is the norm. The day before departing Florida, it was 86 degrees Fahrenheit; three days later we arrived in Denver to find temperatures below 0 which didn't reach 32 degrees (freezing in Fahrenheit) for 30 days!
We traveled by car with our parrots and had no problems, but this was because we planned carefully. Before departure, we made certain that both the heat and air conditioning in our vehicle operated properly. We carried blankets and covering for the cages to prevent drafts. We made careful plans regarding what to do should the car break down in cold climates.
Before placing our parrots in the vehicle for each day's travel, we made certain that the temperature inside the car was appropriate. As we reached colder regions, the car was warmed before removing the parrots from our overnight lodging. The short distance from our hotel room or the hotel lobby to the car was covered quickly with each parrot cage well-covered in blankets to prevent chills.
Too much heat can be more difficult to deal with. Of course, you should adjust the interior temperature of any vehicle before placing your parrot inside. When traveling with parrots in hot weather, I always carry a spray bottle of water so that, should the air conditioning stop working, I can spray the parrots to help cool them until a safe place can be reached. However, should this situation arise, I would get to a climate controlled location as quickly as possible because heat can kill quickly.
Signs of Temperature Distress
Whether you have your parrot outdoors on your shoulder (with clipped wings, of course), in a vehicle, or in an outdoor play cage, you want to watch for any signs of temperature-related distress.
When a parrot becomes too warm, it will move its wings away from its body to allow the heat under the wings to dissipate. This is the first signal that the bird is becoming too hot. The next sign is breathing through the beak. By the time a parrot is panting, action must be taken immediately because it could die from overheating in as little as 10 minutes!
When a parrot is cold, it will pull all its feathers close to its body and shiver. This is the only signal you will see indicating distress from the cold. After experiencing sudden cold temperatures, respiratory infections or a cold can occur; this can quickly kill a parrot.
Have a Safe Summer/Winter
Plan ahead to ensure your parrots survive extreme summer and winter weather. Have a back-up heating method in your home should your home's heater stop working. In hot weather, if your climate control breaks down, open windows and use fans to move the air, avoiding direct drafts on the parrot. Avoid placing the parrot in direct sunlight because it will be even hotter than in the shade.
Have fun with your parrot this summer and winter, but remember to be safe. If you are uncomfortable, you can be certain your parrot is also uncomfortable
I wasn't aware parrots were so sensative to climate changes or drafts. This is good to know since I live in Michigan where the temperature can change on a moments notice.