I do have one question that has always puzzled me. Does the weather effect birds. I stay in touch by phone with allot of breeders, and there have been times where I’ll get a distress call from someone 100 miles north of me that their birds mutilated their babies. Within the space of 2 days I will hear the same thing from up to a dozen other breeders, describing the same exact thing!!! And many don’t know each other, and there is a couple hundred mile spread of distance people instances. I can relate to several instances that I have *honestly felt* that weather was a contributing factor. Can environmental things have a global effect?

Exactly! Tropicals are as sensitive to temperature changes and rainfall patterns as they are to photoperiod. In some species, the temperature/humidity factors may even outweigh the photoperiod in determining breeding cycles and patterns. Florida, with its notorious microclime zones would show such differences quickly. Something to consider… — Regards,

Patrick Thrush

From Marnie I believe the weather has very much to do with the birds behaviour. Animals (mostly dogs and cats) are much more perceptive than we, and their behaviour preceding earthquakes and storms is well documented. I have heard of cats killing their kitts before a hurricane or earthquake. Horses are always quite skittish in stormy weather as well, and sheep/goats/cattle will hide their babies in heavy underbrush. I have heard that the reason some parents destroy their babes is that they sense the oncoming cataclysmic event and destroy them as they know they will not survive it. A wives tale perhaps, but most ancient wisdom is founded a some fact.

When we first got into bee keeping years ago, we thought it was an old wives tale when we were told that it was best to work on the hives during bright sunny weather and to be sure there would be no storms in the area. Lol… we only ignored that advice once <BG> Boy those suckers get in a mean mood when it’s stormy!!!! When sunny you can work on them in a t shirt… stormy weather full regalia is not enough protection! After our experience <g> I did some research on the phenomena, and found that the reason the bees get ticked, is the fall in barometric air pressure bothers the dickens out of them. (ABC & XYZ of Bee Keeping by A. I. Root… and excellent book… even tells you the length of a bee’s tongue <g>) I can very well believe that this fall in barometric pressure would bother birds as well as ourselves… don’t we feel rather out of sorts or gloomy during this type of weather change?

Cheers! Marnie:)

Alison wrote:

This would explain some of my amazons readiness to breed in winter. I have hot forced air heat and mist my birds quite often, they love it, I started to think I was producing something like a rainy season. As I increased the misting the more they work thier box.

Yes and yes!!! It is a two part scheme. Remember that in the southern hemisphere where these birds came from, when it is winter here, it is summer there (and vis versa). Just because we have relocated them to the northern hemisphere does not mean that their genetically programmed internal clocks have changed also. We can do much to artificially change their breeding patterns by our photoperiod (especially through controlled lighting), but given a chance many species will default to natural patterns of season (that of their native part of the world) Greys are notorious for this.

Of the other tropicals (primarily neotropicals) temperature and humidity play a greater role than photoperiod in keying the breeding cycle. In the absence of these natural patterns, photoperiod becomes the primary trigger to annual reproductive growth and subsequent breeding. When we inadvertantly recreate the same conditions in the same season that breeding would occur naturally, it “looks” like an enhanced degree of activity. It is normal for them naturally, however. — Regards,

Patrick Thrush

From Susanne Patrick, your above comments did get me to something else that has puzzled me.

Okay, first off most of my breeders are outside. Controlling the climate is difficult. The two most prolific and productive *times* is the hottest part of the summer with high humidity…And the coldest part of the (ours is 40-60 degree’s) winter which is also low humidity. During these two time periods clutch (egg) sizes are also larger than normal….from 5-10 eggs. During the summer months I have to constantly monitor the eggs because of too much humidity…which will cause an over-hydrated baby in shell, pipping out the side of the egg, and loss of air sac at the top of the egg….thus to save the baby, most are assist hatched or lost. During the coldest part of the winter it is the opposite, being that babies get dehydrated in the egg, and trapped, and again have to be assist hatched. Other times of the year the clutch sizes are normal…meaning 4-6 eggs.

What has always run through my mind is are the birds laying larger clutches during these weather extremes to compensate for losses that would have naturally occurred in nature?