Robin in a Snowstorm: A Question for You

This robin is in a blizzard with winds of 35 to 45 mph and gusts to 70 mph. "The storm started around noon on 1/22/05 and ended mid day Sunday 1/23/05. Overnight temps Sunday evening went down to 6 degrees," says John Deignan, who took the photo.

What do you notice about this bird's feathers? They are so fluffed up that he’s holding his wings down a bit. The bird fluffed his feathers to protect himself from the cold. This fluffiness is important. It insulates the bird’s internal organs so they stay at 104 degrees F. The heart and lungs are pretty far back on birds, and the back feathers help keep these internal organs warm.

If it's 6 degrees outside, what is the temperature difference between the air and the bird’s heart and lungs? Now you see the importance of those fluffed-up feathers!

Journaling Question:

  • From the photo, what things do birds do to stay warm and dry during a snowfall? Compare your thoughts with our expert's.

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