Saturday, February 28, 2015

How do birds fly and talk at the same time? How do they breathe?

Lifelong learning is my "gig".  I love to learn something new and share it and on the farm, there is always something that comes along. Pic Borrowed from Bird Breathing without specific permission.  Tried to get in touch with them but their link is dead? Hope they are okay!

As a child I would look at birds and wonder how they flew so fast and far and never stopped to breathe.   I would pretend to be a bird and flap my human wings, fast as I could.  I couldn't understand how they could breath and fly.

Now, I understand.  The knowledge base expands.   as a fellow blogger Floyd explained in his blog "Chickens (and all birds) have a respiratory process that is quite un-mammalian and not surprisingly related to their high metabolic rate and the physics and blood chemistry associated with flight. Their lungs are not like ours, lacking the tiny permeable alveoli where gas exchange takes place" So what does that mean?

Air does come in through their nose, known as their nares and their mouth as well..  But guess what, poultry inhale and exhale at the same time.  They are taking in oxygen even as they breathe out.  

Why? Birds have no diaphram... Really. Without a diaphram, the air goes into their tummy area and can make that area vulnerable to whatever they are breathing in?   Remember the parakeet in the Coal Mine?   The parakeet quickly gets the toxin in and gives a little bit of time for those miners to get out!!!   It may look like poultry are breathing from their backside but they are not, this is the result of a lot of muscle activity related to breathing.

The downside of the birds system of breathing which is through their small little capallaries called alveoli.   They can get more oxygen than a human at the same "weight" but the toxins can be so bad for them..... So.......... What is the learning piece to take away from this. 

Several,  efficiency of air control and wings make for the ability of birds to fly long distances or distances at all.  (Body weight affects this too)  Heavy turkeys can fly, just not very well or sustain it.   

Take away learning for homesteaders, bird lovers, students, and more

1.Squeezing a bird too tightly (and NOT just around the neck), can cause respiratory failure - death and/or respiratory problems

2. Health of your ground affects your birds.  Birds that you keep are at a low level (usually ground level and then maybe with coops)....... Your shoes with oil, gasoline or even salts from ice roads can mean sickness and death if you use them in their area.   Runoff from your leaking car if parked near them can be toxic.   Unused feed that molds becomes toxic

3.Trying to catch a bird that is eating or drinking cause cause aspiration pneumonia.  Yup, just wait until they finish eating or drinking.

4.You can now explain to everyone why wild geese can fly and "talk" at the same time.
Be grateful not to be a bird, although their system moves more efficiently than us humans, it is actually double ours, They breathe in/out/out/in for our cycle of in and out air.  This means they are body muscular for the "flying" birds.  Now for the non fliers - such as heritage, or other heavy weight birds like heritage ducks, they don't get as muscle bound as early.

 5. For homesteaders, for those birds that do can easily get "muscle bound" even at a young age (the fliers and runners especially), this is why when you harvest birds for your table, they need to be at a younger age or pull out the soup pot. Now this is even true for those birds you get at the grocery store or other locations.  Now in days long gone by, the slow cooked chicken and dumplings was the answer for the too many roos on the farm questions.

If you crave even more information there is an awesome page here on the Bird Rspiratory System.   Fascinating reading... Have a blessed day!  Bird Respiratory System Ornithology BIO 554/754   ff
T In mammals,
respiratory cycle is necessary.