When you’ve had pet birds for a while, you may start to wonder if keeping more is for you. Eventually, you will want an aviary outside, which can accommodate more than two tiny feathery friends.
And when this happens, you’ll also want to know, are there any cold-weather pet birds that will survive all year in an outdoor aviary. Plus, what temperature is too cold for birds.
Well, most birds raised indoors, such as parakeets and cockatiels, get quite chilled in cool temperatures (below 70°F) or when the weather change.
Usually, their feathers fluff-up, and the birds look like little downy balls.
Even so, some bird keepers argue that most species can adequately cope with lower temperatures in the winter when acclimatized to it over time.
Your pet birds can become accustomed to lower temperature ranges, but that required ample time for him (or her) to increase their down-feather layer.
Ideal cold weather candidates include non-migratory species from the Northern hemisphere and colder alpine regions of South America and New Zealand, such as Monk and Red-Breasted parakeets and Patagonian conures.
But popular species like cockatiels, budgies, and lovebirds can also be raised outside, as long there is an insulated, frost-proof aviary and blankets for your birds.
If you are curious to see more cold weather pet birds and the best way to make it work, then keep reading.
What Temperatures is Too Cold for Pet Birds (Parrots)
Birds are hardy, and most will survive out in the cold.
However, when adapted to living indoors, pet birds become more susceptible to any temperature below 70 degrees Fahrenheit (median house temperature).
Most species are also sensitive to draughts and should not experience changes of more than 15 degrees in a period less than 24 hours.
As stated by The Nest, the ideal temperature for most birds while healthy is between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. African greys, cockatoos, and Amazon parrots prefer a setting ranging from 70 to 80, while miniature parrots like parrotlets and fig parrots won’t survive long in any setting below 50 degrees.
Macaws come from the rainforests of South America, ringnecks parakeets from India, and African grey parrots are native to the warmest regions of Africa. These birds are simply not designed to cope with harsh winter temperatures:The Spruce.
That said, many species kept as pet birds in homes are native to tropical regions of the world, including Africa, South America, and even Australia.
Therefore, your bird should be able to survive outside all year round if you live in areas where the general weather is akin (or close) to that of the tropics.
For instance, in the United States, California, Florida, and other Southern states provide ideal temperatures for housing birds outside year-round.
However, if you are looking for birds that can live in outdoor aviaries in Northern Climate, you might have to look a little harder. Only a handful of species are hardy enough to stand Northern winter cold outside without proper shelter and ample time to acclimate.
Any temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold for pet birds, and a majority would have to be taken inside or provided with warm shelter, blankets, and extra heating to survive.
Do Pet Birds Get Cold—What To Do If Your Bird is Cold
Birds are well equipped to survive chilly weather in winter, but your pet will obviously feel cold if the temperature goes too low. Of course, wild birds will cope much better than house birds.
Smaller birds like parakeets and cockatiels are also at a higher risk of freezing since they have a proportionately larger surface on their bodies to lose heat but a smaller core volume to generate it.
During freezing nights, cold birds will fluff their feathers to trap heat and slow their metabolism to conserve energy.
As such, if you notice your birdie fluff-up and look like a tiny downy ball?, you might want to insulate his (her) cage or aviary, provide heating, and add a few blankets.
Birds will shiver when cold to raise their metabolic rate and generate more body heat as a short term solution to extreme cold. Freezing birds will also crowd and bask whenever the sun comes out.
One last thing you may notice when your bird is cold is tucking.
Usually, your birdie will stand on one leg or crouch to cover both legs with its feathers and shield bare skin from the cold. They may tuck their bills within their shoulder feathers as well.
What To Do When Your Pet Bird (Parrot) is Cold
As we noted earlier, most pet birds hail from areas with a warm, tropical climate, thus the reason why most are so sensitive to a drop in temperature.
Consequently, the easiest and most straight forward way to keep your pet bird healthy and comfortable during cold winter months is to recreate their wild environment in their cage or aviary.
Quite often, this includes insulating, heating, and providing warm fabric for your birds to bundle up in.
Outdoor aviaries must especially be monitored closely for sudden weather changes and adjusted accordingly. They should also be positioned away from drafts with all windows and wall insulated.
Winter crafted cage covers that go over your birdies accommodation will reduce wind drafts and trap heat within the cage, aviary, or coop.
Cage tents are an ideal and warmer substitute ( or compliment) to cage covers for use in the coldest nights. Essentially, they are tiny insulated shelters that your birdie can hope into to stay warm.
I recommend heating for birds that don’t have a companion to cuddle up to. Heaters are available in a variety of designs and styles and are effective if installed correctly.
The four common heater types available are electric, microwave, heat pads, and traditional lamps.
While heaters are effective at heating a bird’s whole body, bird thermo-perch is best for warming their legs and feet, which are quite susceptible to cold because they lack feathers.
A thermo-perch will heat up a warm, gentle temperature that helps your bird’s blood and tissue in the legs and body warm.
For birds other than parrots, it’s ok to get them a blanket. But for your parrotlets, cockatiels, parakeets, and other chewers, soft cuddle toys are much better, especially if the temperature is only chilly and not cold.
Lastly, you’ll note that birds with companions have an easier time coping with chilly weather since the crowd and bundle around each other. As such, get your birdie a friend (preferably the same species by opposite gender) for company.
Also, feed your bird extra food on colder nights to help them replenish the energy they use up while keeping warm.
….my Two Cents
While most pet birds and parrots can be adapted to living outside in cold weather, it is not recommended in Northern climate where the readings often go below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is also not advisable to keep your birds outside if you live in regions where the night temperature dips too far below the acceptable range, such as desert regions.
However, if you live in an area with a mostly tropical climate, where the variance between night and day temperatures or the range between seasons is not too wide, you can keep your pet birds outside all year round.
You only need to make sure your aviary, cage, or coop is well insulated and away from drafty areas. Add heaters when there is a need and provide your bird with cuddle pets if kept singly.
In conclusion, please note that while some birds are native to cold regions of the world, such as monk and red-breasted parakeets or Patagonian conures, and should ideally adapt to cold weather readily. Most candidates kept as pets are homebred, meaning they are not as hardy as their wild cousins.
So, acclimate them as you would with budgies and cockatiels to steer clear of disaster.