A BirdTricks reader asked that we do a post in memory of a 1 year old Mexican redheaded amazon. His death is tragic and hard to think about, but it is something that we can all learn from. Thanks to this reader for sharing her friend’s story with us.
The story is uncomplicated, and could easily happen to any of us. This reader’s friend planned to take her Amazon to work with her. She loaded his carrier into her mother’s car for her ride to work. Six hours later, when her mother returned to pick her up, she asked her daughter why the Amazon was not with her. It was then that they realized what had happened, she had gone to her job and her mother to hers without realizing that the bird was still in the car. Their amazon parrot had passed away in the heat.
I can only imagine the heartbreak. It’s hard enough to lose your beloved companion, but living with the guilt of responsibility must be unbearable.Things can go so wrong, so quickly and so innocently. My heart goes out to them both.
We have all experienced the tremendous heat that can build up inside a car in the summer months. We leave our cars in blazing, un-shaded parking lots at the mall and find it impossible to climb into them when we return. We open the doors and windows and wait until it has cooled to tolerable levels.
A car becomes an oven in the sun. As sunlight streams in through the windows, it is absorbed by the interior of the car. Heat becomes trapped inside and temperatures begin to climb. A car left in direct sunlight during the hottest time of the day can reach temperatures if 140+ , much higher in certain circumstances.
People often make the mistake of thinking that cracking the windows a few inches will alleviate the heat. IT DOES NOT! Even cars with the windows fully rolled down retain too much heat to be safe for animals or humans.
For those of you who might question the gravity of this fact, and might feel inclined to leave your pets in the car while you grab a quick bite to eat, try this experiment: Go out for a drive in the afternoon on a hot day. At some point, turn off your A/C and keep your windows rolled up. You will notice within minutes that the cool air has dissipated, giving way to the oppressive heat outside. Within just a few more minutes, you will find yourself reaching to turn the A/C back on, not just for the sake of comfort, but because you are finding it difficult to breathe. It happens that quickly.
If you ever come across an animal that has been left in a car in the heat (even 80 degrees turns into 110 quickly), immediately call the police – time is not on the animal’s side.Document the incident with your cell phone camera.Unless you want to risk prosecution, don’t try to break into the car. You can be charged, as unfair as that seems, even though trapping an animal in a closed vehicle is illegal.
Author Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.