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Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Pigeons in rain !!


Rains …. Rains  - it has been raining in Chennai - @ Triplicane, it is not very heavy ! Good Morning on the start of a  a wet day at Thiruvallikkeni.

மழையின் கிளிகள் நனைந்தாலும் சாயம் போவதில்லை

                                                     - எனக்கு கொஞ்சம் அபத்தமாக தோன்றும் வரிகள் !!

Rain inconveniences too – especially birds – we see  birds perched and hunkered down than flying around. Not sure whether their wings are waterproof – though they can withstand rains briefly.    However, when their feathers get wet the pockets of air can fill up with water and a bird’s temperature can drop rapidly putting it at risk of hypothermia.

Though the downpour was a bit heavy, a couple of pigeons choose to look out for wheat grains – perhaps too hungry .. ..

Can birds fly in the rain? They can—but not very well. While it’s not impossible for birds to fly in the rain, they usually choose not to. You may see birds fly short distances in poor weather to find something to eat, but most of them prefer to stay put.  While every bird wears one feather coat, different kinds of feathers – and even different parts of the same feather – can perform various functions. The outermost tips of the main body feathers, called the contour feathers, are built so that the feather surface forms a fine, breathable but water-resistant mesh. This water-repellent property allows the downy bases of the same contour feathers, and other completely downy feathers, to stay dry underneath, allowing them to trap warm air.

Air in a low-pressure system is less dense. But it’s dense air that gives birds the aerodynamic lift they need to take wing. Falling rain and high humidity also add lots of water molecules to the air. That water takes up space in the air, making it even less dense.  When pressure drops, the air is less dense. There are fewer molecules, which makes it harder for birds to fly. Moving through the sky in areas of low air pressure takes a lot of energy.  So  more birds  would prefer sitting on tree branches or even power lines during a storm, rather than venturing out.

If rain continues for some time, though, birds will have to brave the storm. Most birds need to eat several times a day, and they will fly short distances in the rain to find food. Most water will roll off of their feathers, protecting the skin beneath. Many birds can also produce oil that they can spread over their feathers to further protect themselves from the rain. Despite this protection, most birds don’t like rain.  A team of researchers studied birds living in a Costa Rican rainforest. Through blood samples, they found that the birds had higher levels of a stress hormone on rainy days.

So, birds do not like rains !  - yet, they may have to live with that !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

6th Oct 2021.

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