I Preen, Therefore I Am

//I Preen, Therefore I Am

I Preen, Therefore I Am

Mallard Drake, Preening Closeup - ©ingridtaylar

If you know birds, you know that preening isn’t cosmetic fluff. It’s a meticulous cleaning and placement of the bird’s survival gear: feathers. Feathers need to be pristine for flight and for insulation. During oil spills, the analogy used about feathers is that a spot of oil on a bird’s plumage is like a hole in a wetsuit. A substance like oil breaks the seal of the perfectly hooked barbules of the feather, making it impossible for a bird to insulate and thermoregulate. Any compromise in plumage integrity can lead to dire consequences for birds. So, preening truly is a manifestation of existence for feathered beings.

A short primer on feather anatomy: The Wonder of Bird Feathers

Related posts: Bird Bath Bliss | Goose + Water

By | 2011-03-05T10:40:54+00:00 March 5th, 2011|Animal Behavior, Blog, Ducks, Seattle +|2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Mike B. March 5, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    That is a fantastic photo! Makes the feathers look delicate, I’d preen them too.

  2. ingrid March 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Mike, thanks so much for the comment. btw: Love Slugyard — great name and blog. Adding it to the roll.

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