Q: We have a sun conure that is 6 months old. His wing feathers are trimmed, and he enjoys coming into our backyard with us. On a recent Sunday, we had him on our patio and we noticed he had his mouth open and his tongue was moving up and down and he was standing straight up like a soldier. We did not know what to do. We brought him in the house and tried to find a vet to call, but we could not find anyone who was open. In 15 minutes, however, he was back to normal. Do birds pant like dogs and could he have been too hot? It was only 80 degrees out at the time, and we know that these birds come from tropical places that are hotter than that. We have seen wild conures outside in Costa Rica when it was 95 degrees. If our bird was too hot, how do we know what temperature is OK for him? We have been afraid to take him outside again since this episode.
A: Your bird was indeed too hot. The panting you noticed was just as a dog would do, and he was standing up straight like that so that his feathers would not hold any heat. (Conversely, when a bird is cold, it will fluff up its feathers to trap pockets of air to hold in body heat.) A temperature of 80 degrees really is not too hot for a bird as long as it is not in the sunlight. Although you did not say if your patio was sunny, I am assuming it was.
A little bird like a sun conure sitting in the sunlight on a summer day, unable to get out of the sun because its wing feathers are trimmed, will quickly overheat, as you saw. The conures you saw in Costa Rica could fly and were able to get out of the sunlight if they got too uncomfortable. They can tolerate very warm temperatures as long as they are not in the sun and have access to clean water to drink.
Taking your parrot outdoors is very good for the bird if its wing feathers are properly trimmed. You should not be afraid to take yours outside now that you are aware of this situation. Just be sure to keep him in the shade and have a plant mister filled with water nearby that you can spray him with periodically to keep him cool.
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!