We know what happens when it starts to rain. For the most part, we head indoors to stay warm and dry. But what about the birds? Where do birds go when it rains?
In light rain, they don’t alter their behavior very much, similar to us as humans. A gentle shower doesn’t stop most of us from continuing our activities outdoors.
The same goes for our feathered friends. They can do this because their feathers are waterproof. But what about heavy rains and hailstorms?
What do all the birds do during stormy weather? Let’s take a closer look and discover, where do birds go when it rains?
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- Land Birds are Naturally Able to Live Normally During a Light Rain
- Heavy Rains are not Always a Problem for Birds
- Where Do Birds Go During a Storm?
- What Can You Do to Help the Birds When It Rains?
- Conclusion: Where Do Birds Go When It Rains?
Land Birds are Naturally Able to Live Normally During a Light Rain
It’s easy to assume that birds fly away when the rain is heavy. However, they don’t necessarily do this. They often just carry on with their activities in light rains.
Even though many birds tend to seek shelter during strong storms, they might not necessarily need to if their feathers are waterproofed.
Waterproofing is a feature of the feathers that birds have. Birds spend a lot of their time doing what is called preening.
Oil gets on their beaks when they rub against the uropygial or preen gland near the tail, which they then spread over their feathers. The feather is wrapped in this protective layer to keep the interlocking barbules insulated. Water can’t get underneath the oil coating, which makes the feathers shed rain.
Both their feathers and their lightweight, hollow bones help them fly better than any type of aircraft. The reason behind this is fairly simple: because they are so light, birds can stay aloft for very long periods of time by flapping their wings.
Their bodies can be kept at a fairly constant temperature and their feathers, if waterproofed, keep them dry. So the birds can simply go about their business without too much effort.
Heavy Rains are not Always a Problem for Birds
There are some species of birds that show amazing adaptability in weathering storms even when they are heavy. Their waterproof feathers are their main protection from the downpour. So, they have evolved to have these feathers that provide maximum resistance against the most adverse conditions brought about by water.
Water-resistance is achieved by both the oil that gets secreted through glands on their legs and bellies, as well as the special structure of their feathers. If they are not able to keep dry, they flap their wings swiftly to trap air in tiny pockets around them. This helps prevent water from getting through to them easily and also helps to keep them warm.
Mallard ducks avoid the worst of heavy rain by floating with their heads tucked into their wings. They can even sleep like this, although they do start to feel drowsy when it starts raining heavily.
The large swan goose goes about its usual business on land and water in almost all conditions, be it during a tropical storm or on windy ice. The same goes for the Canada goose, which can be seen out in all kinds of inclement weather.
When it Rains, Pigeons and Doves Fluff Out Their Feathers to Keep Dry
Most birds have waterproof feathers that help them stay dry even when it is raining heavily. However, some species like pigeons and doves tend to fluff out their feathers when it’s raining. This helps them retain the heat generated by the body, which keeps them warm enough even in wet conditions.
Nests are one of the most important places for birds to find shelter from bad weather. They might not be able to build nests that are entirely waterproof, however hard they may try.
Natural nests are made of twigs and grasses, which do not repel water readily. But even if they get wet during heavy rain, birds can withstand it for long periods because their waterproofed feathers keep them dry on the inside.
Where Do Birds Go During a Storm?
Birds have the ability to sense when a storm is coming, mainly from the atmospheric change in air pressure that they can sense. They may become quiet, and you’ll notice that if you’re paying attention.
Once the storm has passed you’ll once again hear the birds chirping.
Small birds such as the birds you find in your backyard will often hide in bushes and dense trees to find shelter from heavy rain or a storm. They remain motionless to conserve energy.
They can’t eat while they’re hiding from the rain, though, and after a while, that could pose a problem for them depending on what they typically eat.
Seed-eating birds tend to be okay, and birds that hunt for worms will find the ones that have come out of the flooded soil. Birds that feed mainly on insects are at greater peril during times of extended rain.
If they are insect-eating birds, unfortunately, the insects and other prey they feed on are also hiding from the storm.
If left without food for long enough a bird may face starvation, so they’ll have to get wet in search of food. If they have to venture out during this type of weather, birds will flatten their feathers down to make them more waterproof.
What Can You Do to Help the Birds When It Rains?
Although our feathered friends have instinctive ways of dealing with inclement weather, you can help them out during periods of prolonged rain by providing birdhouses, or a covered bird feeder.
Scatter some seed on the ground in an area that has some type of cover, such as near bushes and areas where they can come out of hiding and get some nourishment in the rainy weather.
This can not only help protect them from the elements but will also help give them some sustenance.
What do birds eat during a storm?
Seed-eating birds tend to be okay, and birds that hunt for worms will find the ones that have come out of the flooded soil. Birds that feed mainly on insects are at greater peril during times of extended rain. If left without food for long enough a bird may face starvation, so they’ll have to get wet in search of food.
When it rains, why don’t birds get wet?
Natural nests are made of twigs and grasses, which do not repel water readily. But even if they get wet during heavy rain, birds can withstand it for long periods because waterproofed feathers keep them dry on the inside.
How do birds find food in bad weather?
Many birds that hunt for earthworms will wait until rainwater has flooded the ground, which allows their prey to come closer to the surface. Seed-eating birds will forage for their food, and they seem to be able to find it on the ground in just about any type of weather.
Conclusion: Where Do Birds Go When It Rains?
It’s natural to wonder where birds go when it rains, and we’ve given you some answers, my friend. The next time a storm is approaching, notice how the birds get quiet and think about where they might be hiding until the weather improves!