Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2
#75634 - 07/09/02 07:59 PM Do birds "pant"?  
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 6,296
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Wordwind  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 6,296
Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
I saw a bird yesterday that was very thirsty. It was caught inside our screened-in porch. The little thing was flying up against the screen, wearing itself out in the heat, and its little beak was open--and it looked as though it was "panting."

But I don't think that's the word that should be applied to birds.

What is the word that would describe a bird, with an open beak--a bird that appears to be hot and thirsty?

We rescued it, by the way. Gently encouraged it to move along the screen with a broom--without really touching it. And it flew to freedom once it found the open door.

I found it interesting that it kept its little consciousness on the screen toward the yard, and never once appeared to try to enter through a window.

Best regards,
WW


#75635 - 07/09/02 10:15 PM Re: Do birds "pant"?  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel
wwh  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
Dear WW: Birds have a very interesting lung arrangement. The lung has to be very small, and very
effici;ent to avoid needless weight. When the bird breathes, the air goes all the way through the lung,
and into a thing like a condom, so that exchange is maximized. In mammals, only the upper portion gets
changed until maximum O2 intake is required by exertion, etc.
As you may have noticed, birds have very tiny nostrils, and must have to be mouth breathers, though
I do not know how to confirm this. A dog's panting is mostly a heat losing mechanism. Birds like your
trapped struggling one might need to lose heat, just as a dog would, and so overbreathe.

I once had some fun with the pharmacology prof. He was getting a bit senile, and not keeping up his reading of advances in physiology. He showed us an experiment that he thought proved a new drug stimulated
respiration in a cat. I challenged him to have cat breathe through the same apparatus without any drug.
He did, and the tracing was identical to the one with drug. He asked me to explain that. I said: "Your apparatus increases the physiological dead space." Same reason you can't hide underwater while breathing
through a three foot length of hose. I still laugh remembering movies showing someone hiding under water
while breathing through a straw. Can't be done, not enough exchange, tidal air way too low.


#75636 - 07/10/02 11:25 AM Re: Do birds "pant"?  
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 6,296
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Wordwind  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 6,296
Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
Dear wwh,

You wrote: When the bird breathes, the air goes all the way through the lung, and into a thing like a condom, so that exchange is maximized.

So, from what you wrote, I gather that there is a second organ into which the air flows? There's the lung plus the second organ? Maybe I should google up a diagram of the bird's respiratory system. And would this be true, too, of flightless birds, such as ostriches? I wouldn't expect so.

I wonder why, when looking at birds, I rarely see them with open mouths? It appears that their tiny nostrils are doing just fine!

Also, thank you very much for telling us about the pipe-under-water impossibility. How could so many movies present such an escape? Interesting.

Best regards,
WW


#75637 - 07/10/02 02:04 PM Re: Do birds "pant"?  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel
wwh  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
Dear WW: Birds' nostrils are far to tiny to be good for anything except taking
an air sample to flow past olfactory nerve endings. Some birds have a keen sense
of smell. Vultures can detect carrion for miles. I have never seen a bird with its
beak open, but it would only need to be ajar a tiny bit to suffice.
Remember, I am talking about things I learned over sixty years ago!


#75638 - 07/10/02 07:14 PM Re: Do birds "pant"?  
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 6,296
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Wordwind  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 6,296
Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
Dear wwh,

Nice having this little chat with you about birds. I doubt anybody else is reading here! Ha!

Anyway, I read a little about the bird's respiratory system this afternoon and learned that there are sacs into which the air goes--nine sacs altogether plus the lungs. The air goes into the sacs before it passes into the lungs according to the reference I checked.

No sac looked like a condom in the one diagram I checked out, but that was probably just the way the illustrator diagrammed the system.

There was nothing written about birds that were suffering heat and how they may breathe any differently.

There was an interesting note that we mammals breathe impure air mixed with incoming air, never completely pure--but birds always have pure air to breathe, air pollution aside.

There was also mentioning of cranes have such a long trachea that it loops around--thereby giving them their loud, sonorous calls.

Thanks for the interesting information so far, and, after I finish my final paper, I'll return to birds.

Bird regards,
WhoopingWind


#75639 - 07/10/02 07:57 PM Re: Do birds "pant"?  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel
wwh  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
Dear WW: I can't remember whether what I described was something I saw in dissecting a pigeon,
or a diagram used as study aid. Anyway, the point was that sir traveled rapidly though lung tissue
in both directions. So far I haven't found anything good on internet. I did find one URL that you
might like to browse through.http://home.earthlink.net/~maalatt/science.html#resources.
Didn't see anything about money being charged.


#75640 - 09/11/02 03:07 AM Re: Do birds "pant"?  
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 45
zootsuit Offline
newbie
zootsuit  Offline
newbie

Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 45
perth, western australia
Most interesting reading!
As far as I recall from my vet anatomy days, air passes into the lungs first and then on to the air sacs. When the bird breathes out, some air passes straight from sacs to trachea but most travels from sacs to lungs and then out. Birds have no diaphragm, and both inspiration and expiration are active processes that the bird performs by lifting and lowering its sternum. Hence gentle handling is necessary - as any sustained pressure on the breastbone will suffocate the bird.
Birds' nostrils are quite functional. Mouth breathing is abnormal and most commonly signifies disease/parasites/heat stress. Firmly taping shut the beak of a bird (e.g to protect hands during examination!)does not lead to any respiratory distress.


#75641 - 09/11/02 04:12 AM Re: Do birds "pant"?  
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 742
sjm Offline
old hand
sjm  Offline
old hand

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 742
Akina
> Firmly taping shut the beak of a bird (e.g to protect hands during examination!)does not lead to any respiratory distress.

Except, perhaps to a kiwi, whose nostrils are at the very tip of its beak. Tape that beak shut in the wrong place, and one might asphyxiate the puir wee thing.


#75642 - 09/11/02 08:23 AM Re: Do birds "pant"?  
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 45
zootsuit Offline
newbie
zootsuit  Offline
newbie

Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 45
perth, western australia
good point sjm!

mind you - with this little bird it would probably be more pertinent to watch out for the claws than the beak!


#75643 - 09/11/02 08:23 AM Post deleted by zootsuit  
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 45
zootsuit Offline
newbie
zootsuit  Offline
newbie

Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 45
perth, western australia

Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Jackie 

Forum Statistics
Forums16
Topics13,879
Posts224,140
Members9,031
Most Online3,341
Dec 9th, 2011
Newest Members
brork, santo, piostylist, prgill, thefoeller
9031 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
0 registered members (), 57 guests, and 1 spider.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters(30 Days)
Top Posters(All Time)
wwh 13,858
Faldage 13,803
Jackie 11,613
tsuwm 10,538
LukeJavan8 9,042
AnnaStrophic 6,511
Wordwind 6,296
of troy 5,400
Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 1994-2017 Wordsmith

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0
Page Time: 0.013s Queries: 14 (0.003s) Memory: 2.7262 MB (Peak: 2.8602 MB) Zlib disabled. Server Time: 2017-11-24 05:52:10 UTC