I live in Austin, TX. Since the onset of June, the temperatures have been over 100 degrees nearly continuously. Three quarters of the year here is spent in A/C, and less than 1/4 of the year requires the use of heating. My favorite times are those rare days when neither the heat nor the A/C is necessary, the windows are open, and the fresh air is blowing in on a balmy breeze. If I am ever going to play hooky from work, it will be on one of these days.
I am moving to Florida at the end of October. This is a wonderful opportunity for me, and my birds will have the benefits of a bird room and outdoor aviaries. Hurray for natural lighting, I can’t wait!
Currently, there are birds situated everywhere in my apartment. My goffins cockatoo can fling her pellets from her cage onto my bed, which she delights in doing. I am looking forward to not needing to vacuum and wipe down surfaces everyday because their mess will be confined to one room.
However, the bird room there is not air conditioned. There are lots of windows providing fresh air and light, and of course, the aviaries are outside. The temperatures in Florida are a bit lower, but they make up for that with very high humidity levels. I am wondering how my spoiled, indoor flock are going to be able to handle the temperature and climate changes. Right now, they last about 30-45 minutes in the heat, out of direct sun, before their wings are drooping and they look like they need a Margarita.
I have been taking them outside more trying to up their tolerance for the heat. The really fortunate part about this concern is the time of year we are moving. October temperatures will be cooler and more easily tolerated, but still warmer than what they are accustomed to. Once they get used to October’s temperatures and humidity, they will then be able to make the adjustment to colder temperatures naturally and gradually. In the spring they will start the slow adjustment toward the oncoming warmer temperatures again. Their metabolic rates and heat regulation will change as the seasons dictate.
There are flocks of feral Quakers throughout the US. Quakers are very hearty birds and have learned not only to adapt and survive in our climates, but thrive. These South American parrots live well in the very cold climates of the northeast. The very distinct seasonal temperature changes have helped them slowly adapt to the harsh winters and scorching summers.
Rumor has it that the first flock originated in 1968 after a group of Quakers broke free from a shipping crate. Because they are so prolific, and like to build their elaborate nests on the highest available site with the least obstructed view, which happens to be our power transformers, they are banned in some states.
Author Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.