Pigeons have adapted to living with humans in a variety of environments throughout the world! They can tolerate summer heat quite well; most of my pigeons have lived outdoors in the Arizona desert for over 10 years with no significant problems. The smaller pigeons (homers, helmet) are more tolerant to the heat than the stocky show kings that seem to have a tougher time cooling themselves. They show signs of heat stress by panting (gular flutter), holding their wings away from themselves, and keeping their feathers flat against their bodies. These physiological mechanisms help to cool the respiratory system by evaporation and to increase body surface area that is in contact with the air for heat exchange.
You can help keep your outdoor pigeons cool and comfortable by:
- Providing access to plenty of fresh, cool, clean water at all times;
- Offering a cool water bath for them to bathe in several times per week;
- Providing lots of shade during the heat of the day (I just purchased this large shade cloth from Home Depot to hang on the front of my loft);
- Using mist sprayers or sprinkling them with a gentle stream from a garden hose;
- Providing adequate ventilation to prevent excess heat buildup in your loft
Of course pigeons do enjoy a good sunbath for their health so allow areas of sunlight in your loft as an option for them. My pigeons still sunbathe even in 100ºF temperatures!