Metabolic Acclimatization to Cold and Season in Birds

  • William R. Dawson
  • Richard L. Marsh
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASIAS, volume 173)


With the prominent role augmented rates of thermogenesis play in the regulation of body temperature by most birds in winter cold, it is of interest to examine the extent to which this process is affected by metabolic acclimatization. Such adjustment affects not only the cold resistance of these animals, but also their energy requirements in a season when food supplies are declining and the time to locate them minimal. We shall emphasize naturally occurring forms of metabolic acclimatization in wild birds, but some consideration also will be given to that associated with exposure to cold in the laboratory. Smaller birds are of primary concern because of their limited capacities for insulative acclimatization, though indications of metabolic acclimatization in larger forms also will be considered. Particular attention will be devoted to indications of acclimatization involving metabolic level, thermogenic capacity, endurance in the cold, extent of energy reserves, and the biochemical correlates of cold resistance. Our goal is to characterize metabolic acclimatization by birds to cold and season to an extent commensurate with current knowledge of this form of compensation.


Wild Bird House Sparrow Cold Resistance Pectoralis Muscle Metabolic Level 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • William R. Dawson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Richard L. Marsh
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Museum of Zoology and Department of BiologyThe University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA

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