Many people like to watch birds flying in the sky and perching at places, but they have no idea about their energy requirements.
Why Do Birds Need a Lot of Energy? Birds need a lot of energy as they have to maintain body temperature during cold weather. In addition, it needs a good diet for efficient flying and disease recovery. They have to assemble nests and perform activities requiring more effort. Furthermore, it is essential to get more energy for the quick growth of young ones and maintenance of body cells.
Probably, a flying pigeon fascinates you and develops a desire to enjoy the gliding experience.
How do birds get energy?
Birds extract nutrients from their food to metabolize the food particles and get more energy from the complex molecules.
Plants consume light from the sun that circulates in an ecosystem as it transfers from plants to animals and birds that consume plant parts.
Many herbivores eat plants, and birds peck on the fruits with their beak and get nutrition. This way, it is transferred into avians and passed on to animals when they eat them.
So, they not only get food from the fruits, but the plant seeds are also a good source of food for them. Most of them prefer to consume grains in their diet as it is easy to engulf the whole seed.
In addition, some of them eat worms and smaller insects from the soil and roam on the ground as their bodies are rich in protein and provide high nutritional value to their diet.
Why do birds require a lot of energy?
They have specific body requirements for survival as their body demands energy in addition to oxygen that helps improve flight, defense, and recovery from disease.
Maintain body temperature
They need the energy to maintain their body temperature by producing heat through cellular respiration and metabolism.
Moreover, the basal metabolism rate gets faster when they consume more food, leading to excessive energy production.
This results in heat production, which helps maintain body temperature when the external temperature is lower.
They have to fly continuously as most of them remain active all time, so they need energy for efficient flight higher in the sky.
Many of them get involved in long-duration flights as alpine swift can remain in the air without any break. Similarly, frigate birds can cross the Indian Ocean within 55 to 63 days.
Furthermore, their metabolic rate gets faster when they fly at high speed for many hours, like most fly at almost 20 to 80mph.
Defend against predators
Energetic birds can defend better than those with less strength to fight predators. Therefore, it becomes essential to fight for their survival and avoid the attack of larger animals and birds.
They have long wings and massive weights and require more power and strength according to their body size, so they can easily attack prey and engulf them quickly.
However, the smaller ones have to be more active to protect their nest and babies from foreign animals and birds, keeping an eye on eggs to eat.
Perform nest activities
They make efforts to build their nests by assembling material like straws, grass, flowers, and mud that remains sturdy in different conditions.
Moreover, they perform various nest activities like going far from the nest to collect food when they have to feed females and young ones.
They cannot reach a food source without having energy for physical activity as they have to fly away from their nest.
Not only do they have to collect food, but they ensure the survival of the young ones by protecting them from diseases and predators.
Newborn babies require an adequate nutrition source for the growth of their organs and body parts as their bodies are in the growth phase.
Any disturbance in nutrient availability can lead to deformed limbs or other significant issues that can be long-lasting. The body cells make less energy when they have less availability of food.
In addition, the young ones need a diet rich in protein for better growth of feathers as they contain 80% to 90% protein and strong feathers provide better insulation.
Furthermore, a good diet is essential for the mother and young babies when egg fertilization and hatching to achieve an ideal weight and size.
A healthy immune system that is active and responds quickly to infections can help fight off the disease efficiently.
Energy is required for the maintenance of a healthy immune system, as weak ones have compromised immunity.
A slow and dull bird cannot fight disease and usually dies, while an energetic can fight infections due to a responsive immune system.
Furthermore, they can quickly recognize the foreign agents and kills them within the body to get back to a normal lifestyle.
Maintenance of body cells
They need to maintain the number of body cells that can help repair the damaged cells by replacing them with new ones.
Moreover, less intact tissues and damaged cells can disturb the cell structure, affect immunity, and cause poor feathering.
So, they have to consume a balanced diet providing sufficient energy to make the loss of damaged or injured bodies and maintain the cell count in their bodies.
Do birds get tired quickly?
Most commonly, the birds do not feel exhausted after excessive physical activity when their bodies become deficient in nutrients.
They have adapted their bodies to store the nutrient extracts when they have to go for long flights.
They prepare themselves for activities by consuming more food that helps extract more nutrients to survive for the next 4 to 5 hours or even more.
Moreover, they do not get tired as they are used to reducing energy expenditure by bringing changes in the wing beats as less number of wing beats means a reduction in air resistance.
Additionally, they have hollow bones that help them fly for long distances without getting tired. Their lighter bodies and small size also facilitate less consumption of energy.
So, the birds do not suffer from fatigue, unlike humans, because they can sleep to overcome tiredness during flying as their half brain can be active when the other side of the brain is not working.
What types of foods provide a lot of energy to birds?
Different varieties of food are available for birds according to their energy requirements and preference in relation to taste.
Moreover, fruits are considered more nutritious, providing maximum energy for a quick and efficient flight that can remain for a long time.
You can offer apples, bananas, mangoes, etc., to the birds coming to your garden in search of food because they are highly nutritious for them.
Additionally, they would naturally consume smaller living insects or dead worms to extract proteins from their dead bodies, like mosquitoes, flies, and other soil invertebrates.
The plant material is also a natural food source because they do not have to be dependent on humans like there are for snacks, fast foods, fruits, etc.
So, they prefer to eat berries, nuts, seeds, and even flowers. However, larger birds like hawks can also eat animals that are small in size and are easier to prey like snakes and other rodents.
Do all birds need a lot of energy?
The requirement for energy depends on the physical activities and gender or age of the organisms that help determine their body’s nutritional needs.
The woodcocks are slow flyers and need less energy or nutrients as they only fly at 5 to 9mph.
However, other fast-flying birds like the peregrine falcon, golden eagle, and rock dove fly at almost 385km/h, 300km/h, and 149km/h on average.
The young and newly born birds need more energy as their systems are at the developing stage of growth as compared to adults who consume lesser food.
The gender difference also determines its requirements as males have more muscular mass in their bodies, so they need more nutrition for maintenance compared to females.
Light intensity, body size, and external environment temperature affect the nutrient requirements as long-term exposure to light increase the consumption of liquid foods.