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Thermal and metabolic responses of the gray jay to cold stress

, : Thermal and metabolic responses of the gray jay to cold stress. Physiol. Zool, 37: 316-328

The thermal and metabolic responses of 51 gray jays, Perisoreus cana-densis pacificus, were determined over a temperature range that varied from 25 to minus 50[degree] C during a 4-hour period for 12 consecutive months. Oxygen consumption and skin and cloacal temperatures were recorded continuously. The results showed significant seasonal differences in the oxygen consumption of the birds at temperatures lower than -4[degree] C. The average resting metabolic rate of the jays was 1.75 + 0.31 SD cc O2/gm hr STPD or 14.05 kcal/bird-day. There was a seasonal shift of the lower critical temperature from 9.0[degree] C during the winter to 36.0[degree] C during the summer. There is a gradual transition from the resting metabolism of the bird to higher metabolic rates as the cold stress is increased. This change is accurately represented by an exponential curve. Tissue and total insulation varied with the seasons. The diurnal variation of the cloacal temperature of the jays was 1.5[degree] C in the summer and 2.5[degree] C in the winter. During the summer the birds did not meet the thermal demands imposed on them as well as they did during the winter. Exposure to cold produced significant changes in the resting metabolism of the birds. There is an increase in feather and tissue insulation, a decrease in skin temperature, and a lower critical temperature of winter birds.


DOI: 10.2307/30152402

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