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How birds stay warm when it gets cold

By Gary Bogue
Friday, February 4th, 2011 at 7:05 am in Birds.

Cold purple finch. Photo by Richard Strange, Cave City, Kentucky.
finch richard strange cave city ky

I got this from my brother in Cave City, Kentucky:

“The temperature was 29 degrees when I took this picture.  Most birds fluff themselves up when they are resting on their selected perch during cold weather.  Flo and I weren’t sure what this bird was when we first saw it this morning, but with the zoom lens on my “new” Canon we knew it was a Purple Finch.”

He is an avid bird watcher and participates in the bird count every year.  I hope the bird was indeed warm with those feathers fluffed out like that.
Betty, Concord

Bird feathers are very efficient. When they fluff them out like that, more air is gathered in the spaces between the feathers, providing more insulation. Kind of like you putting on a down jacket when it’s cold. /Gary

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