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Do Birds Fly In The Rain? The Interesting Answer!

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Bird in the rain

If you’ve wondered if birds fly in the rain, the answer is simple. Birds can fly in the rain, although they mostly choose not to. You will likely see birds hidden in a dry spot during rain rather than flying around. Various factors affect their decision to stay put during rainy days, so we wanted to discuss the topic further.

Keep reading to learn more about why birds are not so keen to fly during rain.

hummingbird divider

Why don’t birds like to fly when it’s raining?

As stated above, birds can fly in the rain, although they prefer to stay put and wait until the rain stops. Their feathers are waterproof, but a bird can still get soaked in the rain, and therefore, its feathers would become heavier. Birds are lightweight, so the added weight from the rain will make the flying process more difficult.

Also, for birds to endure flight, they need to consume high-energy food, so instead of spending their energy flying in the rain, birds prefer to wait and fly when necessary. Also, during rainstorms, the air becomes less dense, and there are fewer molecules in the air, making flight challenging and energy-consuming.

Some birds, like seabirds, actually like rain, so they won’t hide, and instead, they will continue with their regular activities.

Bird In The Rain
Image Credit By: Nel_Botha-NZ, Pixabay

Impact of rain on birds

Rain impacts birds, although the impacts of light and heavy rain won’t be the same. Birds can endure light rain, but heavy rain creates more problems for them. Check out the impact of both light and heavy rain below.

Light rain

Light rain is not as scary and has a minimal impact on birds. It’s not uncommon to see birds such as ducks flying around during rain. Since their feathers are waterproof, light rain won’t get a bird soaked, and the feathers will allow water to flow off from them. 

Heavy rain

On the other hand, heavy rain has more of an impact on birds, so that’s when they prefer to stay put. As we mentioned above, the air gets less dense, so the birds have difficulties lifting in the air and moving through it. Also, heavy rains are commonly followed by strong winds, making the situation even more challenging.

During heavy rains, birds will likely change their posture to trap as much air as possible to stay warm. That way, they also preserve energy and reduce rain penetration.hummingbird divider

What happens when a bird gets wet?

When a bird gets slightly wet, it shouldn’t be an issue. Still, some problems can happen when a bird gets too wet. When the air pockets between their feathers fill with water, birds will quickly drop their body temperature, leading to hypothermia. When it comes to this issue, the smaller the bird, the bigger the problem gets because small birds lose heat more quickly.

Bird In Rain
Image Credit By: Montevideo, Pixabay

What do birds do when it’s raining?

Most birds have similar behaviors while raining, and they will start looking for shelter and ways to stay warm in the rain.

Looking for shelter

The first thing birds will do is look for is shelter to hide and wait until the rain is over. The protection can be a natural stop or a man-made birdhouse or feeder where they can stay dry. You will likely notice birds hiding in bushes, shrubs, tree cavities, or birdhouses.

Staying warm

Birds also look for ways to stay warm during the rain, so they will puff up to trap air in their feathers and prevent coldness from reaching their skin. To keep warm, birds will also withdraw their heads, stand upright, and point their bill in the rain direction. This posture allows heat retention while the water slides from their feathers.

Bird Rain
Image Credit By: WFranz, Pixabay

Where do birds go in the rain?

In the rain, birds will go to hiding spots such as tree trunks, nest boxes, bushes, and other nearby hiding locations. The place where birds hide depends on their location and availability, so anything convenient nearby will be a good shelter spot until the rain is over. Preferably, the site should have some food sources since birds need frequent food.

Where do birds sleep when it rains?

When looking for a location to sleep during rain, birds have to find a perfect spot to protect them from both rain and predators. They will commonly tuck in hedges or tree cavities, and they can even build nests where they’ll come if the weather becomes bad.

Another excellent spot for birds to sleep during rain is a birdhouse. Your backyard will be a great shelter, and the food you provide will help birds endure the rough weather conditions.hummingbird divider

Can birds tell that it’s going to rain?

Due to the change in air pressure, birds can sense that it will rain, so they have more time to react and seek shelter. Before a storm, you will likely notice birds flocking to hiding spots and prepping for the storm.

This skill can be a lifesaver for birds because they will know when to stock up on food and make an appropriate environment to wait until the rain is over. Birds will also become quiet before a storm, so you won’t hear chirping and singing.

Wet Bird
Image Credit: WFranz, Pixabay

How can I help birds during bad weather and rain?

You can do multiple things to help birds during bad weather and rain. Adding minor changes to your backyard can become a perfect spot for birds to hide during rain. Below you can see the best ways to create a rain-friendly environment where birds can hide and wait until the rain stops. Birds will realize your backyard is a safe spot, so they might come back even during sunny weather.

1. Plant to provide protection

Planting various plants such as trees, shrubs, and bushes can be a great way to provide shelter to birds during rain and other bad weather conditions. Also, plants can be an excellent food source for birds. It’s best to plant evergreen trees with green foliage throughout the year. The more plants you have in the backyard, and the more densely they are planted, there will be more shelter for birds.

2. Leave dead trees in your backyard

Providing shelter can also mean working with things you already have in your backyard. If there are dead trees, leave them there to provide more shelter options for birds instead of cutting them down. Dead trees are great hiding spots since they have cavities where the birds can reside.

3. Put up birdhouses

Birdhouses are also very convenient spots to take shelter during heavy rains. You can put up various birdhouses to accommodate birds of different sizes. Put the birdhouses high enough to be away from predators.

tree bird feeder
Image Credit: Piqsels

4. Keep extra feeders

Extra feeders will provide birds with enough food, which can be hard to find during rain. Having enough feeders will be convenient because multiple birds can eat there simultaneously, and you won’t have to refill them as often.

Some bird species are not fans of regular feeders, so you can also put ground feeders to give them access to food.

5. Provide high-energy foods

High-energy food will help birds during rain, so put out meat scraps, peanut butter, suet, and insects. Birds get a boost from foods high in fat, so it’s crucial to help them survive through rough weather conditions. Any food that’s high in fat will provide more energy to birds which will help them during rainy days.

6. Birdbaths with heaters

Birdbaths with heaters are a way to provide a reliable water source and prevent birds from freezing. You should set it up correctly so that the birds won’t bathe in it. If the birdbath is set where birds can bathe, it can be fatal during rain and cold weather. You could add rocks inside so that birds cannot take a bath.

hummingbird divider In Conclusion

In summary, birds can fly in the rain, but they won’t if not necessary. Instead, birds will stay put, try to stay warm, and look for an adequate place to spend time while the rain stops. Try to provide shelter and food in your backyard to help them until the weather improves.

Featured Image Credit: pen_ash, Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.