how do baby birds survive storms

How Birds Survive Harsh Storms

Even with all the potential harm that storms can cause, birds are able to withstand inclement weather. Their numerous adaptations offer them a significant advantage in staying safe during any kind of storm:

Birds have acute senses and can detect even the smallest changes in the environment that could be signs of an impending storm. Birds are able to detect changes in barometric pressure, humidity, temperature, wind direction, and speed. These changes allow the birds to anticipate storms and take preventative measures to stay safe.

In the hours prior to a storm, a lot of birds will feed frantically in order to fuel up for the duration of the storm. When the temperature drops, they might use that nourishing fuel to stay warm or to get away from the area. Birds must have enough energy to last through the storm and resume their regular eating schedule.

When inclement weather arrives, birds will immediately seek cover to avoid being negatively impacted. Since many birds are so small, they can find good protection from strong winds, torrential rain, and sharp snow by simply tucking against a tree’s trunk. To avoid inclement weather, birds will look for concealed cavities or nest beneath branches, brush, or other cover.

Get Out of the Way

When bad weather is predicted, some bird species will move away from the area. Since birds don’t have to follow roads or other established routes, they can swiftly avoid the worst weather. The severity of a storm can vary greatly even over a short distance, and birds can readily avoid the path of the strongest storms.

Strong winds can make it appear as though birds are clinging to branches or wires for their lives, but they can easily hang on. Their feet will only release if the bird uses its muscles; otherwise, their talons are closed and locked in their resting position. Because of this, birds can cling tightly to a perch even in the strongest winds.

When the weather is bad, birds will naturally seek cover, tucking their bills into their feathers, crouching low, and taking other precautions to reduce their exposure to hazardous situations. This can prevent them from becoming flooded or experiencing excessive wind. It can keep them dry and warm even in inclement weather.

Many birds have evolved numerous physical defenses to stay warm, even in the face of unexpected cold snaps, icy ice storms, and blizzards. These defenses range from downy feather insulation to a layer of fat reserves that reduces heat loss. Some birds grow thicker winter plumage. Some even drop their body’s temperature and metabolic rate in an attempt to remain cozy, safe, and warm.

But even with these adaptations and survival techniques, storms can still be fatal for birds, and bad weather kills a lot of wild birds. Because birds might not be able to re-nest during the same season, storms that affect nesting areas can be particularly destructive. This can lead to dramatically diminished breeding success.

How Do They Shield Their Chicks From Rain?

Adult birds have feathers covered in a waxy, oily layer. The Uropygial glands in birds secrete this oil, which they coat their feathers with to make them water resistant.

The mother bird will tuck the young birds under its feathers to protect them from the rain and to keep them warm.

FAQ

How do small birds survive storms?

Different birds use different ways to wait out a storm. Birds that normally roost in a cavity—such as chickadees, small owls, woodpeckers—hide out in their cavity. They may also use roost boxes. Sometimes more than a dozen birds will pile into a single box to conserve heat.

What happens to baby birds in a storm?

Nestlings (the featherless baby birds) are sometimes blown out of their nest on a windy day or during a storm. And sometimes, the whole nest comes down. If you find a nestling, take the following steps: Look around first to see if it fell from a nest that is still intact and in place.

How do baby birds survive in rain?

Adult birds have feathers covered in a waxy, oily layer. Birds secrete this oil from the Uropygial glands and use the secretion to coat their feathers, which gives them water resistance. To shield the baby birds, the mother bird will tuck them under its feathers, hiding them from the rain and keeping them warm.

What are the chances of a baby bird surviving?

What percentage of baby birds survive? Birds don’t have great odds as they face a fair amount of predators. About 60% to 70% of nests will not survive. And, said O’Shea, it may be higher in urban and suburban areas.