Double-crested Cormorant, © Photo by Steve Kaye

Gular Fluttering | July 2017

Gular Fluttering Explained

Double-crested Cormorant, © Photo by Steve Kaye, in blog post: Gular Fluttering Is for the Birds

Double-crested Cormorant, Breeding Plumage

During hot summer days, everyone talks about gular fluttering.

If, by some odd chance, you’ve missed being part of such a conversation, here’s what you need to know about this important topic.

Then you’ll be able to impress your friends by taking the lead. For example, you might say, “So tell me, what do you think about gular fluttering?”

Then be prepared for a flood of excited questions.

You might respond by offering a basic fact, such as: “Every species needs to maintain its body temperature.

When air temperatures are low (i.e., cold), birds generate heat internally by burning extra calories. This is easy because they have a large capacity for generating heat.

When air temperature are high (that is, hot), birds must remove heat from their system. This can be difficult because heat reduction mechanisms have a small range of effectiveness.”

Pause for a moment to let your friends absorb this. You could help by stating that it’s more difficult to cool off on a hot day.

“So birds vibrate their gular (throat tissues).

When they do this, they rapidly pump air back and forth in their system, thereby causing a very efficient form of evaporative cooling.”

Great Blue Heron, © Photo by Steve Kaye

Great Blue Heron, Demonstrating Gular Fluttering (Click on the photo to watch the video)

Finally, if they’d like to know more, you can send them a link to this blog so they can see the above photos and . . . [ Drum Roll, please ] watch a video.

See the video by clicking on the photo of the Great Blue Heron above or by clicking on this link: See Bird Video

Much success,

Steve Kaye

Find More at:

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Profile in Courage

The Bird Next Door

Help Birds Tip

Put out water for birds on hot days.

Simply use empty food containers. Of course, wash them first. Then fill them with water and set them out in your yard.

Did You Know?

The most effective way to help birds is to buy land.

Here are three organizations that excel at doing this.

1) American Bird Conservancy

2) The Nature Conservancy

3) The Trust for Public Land

Please visit their web sites to learn about the work they do.

Here’s an excellent book: The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation

You can help – Please share this blog with others.
Inspiring Respect for Nature, one bird at a time.

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  • Eric Stogner
    Posted at 16:29h, 26 July

    Thanks Steve,
    I figured it was about staying cool.

  • joe dell
    Posted at 04:09h, 18 May

    birds flap too and i think they cool so haha it means they regulating

  • Dar Peterson
    Posted at 17:46h, 02 June

    So do all birds do this? Crows and ravens?

  • Steve Kaye
    Posted at 18:39h, 03 June

    Many birds use gular fluttering to keep cool, including crows and ravens.

  • Sally F
    Posted at 13:02h, 01 January


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