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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Why Do Birds Fluff Up Their Feathers When It's Cold?

Feathers are a good insulating material. By fluffing its feathers, a bird traps many tiny pockets of air to hold in body heat and keep out the cold....When the weather is hot, the bird presses its feathers close to its body to eliminate the insulating air pockets so that body heat is allowed to escape...The insulating quality of feathers is a drawback when the bird is trying to incubate its eggs. The feathers keep some of the body heat from reaching the eggs. To overcome this problem, the bird either sheds some of its breast feathers naturally or pulls them out to expose the bare skin. This bare area is called the brood patch, and egg temperatures next to it may be as much as six degrees higher than those next to the feathers.

Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife. Read the whole article here

In cold weather, birds can fluff their feathers up, enlarging the net size of insulating air pockets between the feathers and helping them to retain warmth.

Shipman, Pat. Taking Wing: Archaeopteryx and the Evolution of Bird Flight. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999. Print.

Post idea submission and Photo by GrandmaLynn