COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. – How hot is it in the South? It’s so hot that the birds are panting.
Kimberly Morrise captured a video of birds struggling to breathe on Friday as dangerously hot conditions with heat index values topped 110 degrees in Collierville, Tennessee.
Birds don’t sweat, but they have several ways to cool down. They primarily dissipate excessive heat by panting, just like a dog.
The rapid, quick breaths will move air across the moist surfaces of the bird’s lungs, throat and mouth, according to the National Wildlife Federation. The moisture will then evaporate, absorbing heat from its body. Some heat is carried outside each time the bird breathes, leaving the bird feeling cooler.
The muggy conditions also keep birds from flying. Birds will do most of their flying, singing and eating in the morning and evening when the air is more relaxed, the NWF states. During hot afternoons, they will spend more time resting quietly in the shade.
Other ways birds keep cool in the summer heat include feather fluffing and splashing in shallow water.
The heat continues in the mid-South on Saturday as Excessive Heat Warnings and Heat Advisories, generally along and south of Interstate 40, will be in effect until 8 p.m. Eastern. Heat indices will again soar to the 105- to 110-degree range with dew points in the upper 60s to mid-70s.
In addition, many locations will have record-high low temperatures contributing to areas not cooling off overnight, which will also contribute to the effects of heat.
Extreme heat and humidity will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly among those working or participating in outdoor activities.