Feathers are one of the most unique features of birds. Among all sorts of animals present in this world, only birds have feathers or feather-like structures.
It might be quite surprising to know that these flat appendages forming the plumage come with lots of benefits. Birds can perform a number of activities, which are truly essential for them, with the help of these adjuncts. Here are the reasons why birds have feathers and how these help them in carrying out their regular functions:
- First of all, soft and fluffy feathers play an important role in keeping the body of a bird warm through the mechanism of temperature regulation. Basically, birds force all their feathers out from time to time and entrap air underneath the layers. It keeps their entire body warm.
- There are some birds whose feathers are covered with wax or similar compounds. It is extremely helpful in keeping them off the rain.
- Feathers also provide protection to birds. As the whole body of a bird is covered with these exclusive epidermal growths, they can stay safe from any type of harm or injury.
- Birds can never fly without feathers. These are absolutely lightweight and hence, do not increase the body weight of a bird. Rather, they can use these accessories for directing air suitably with their wings, which eventually help them fly.
- Apart from all these, feathers also help birds catch the attention of mates. There is a wide range of birds with a variety of feathers. Some of them are really attractive and helpful in attracting partners.
However, all birds replace their feathers at least once a year through a process, known as “molting.” It is necessary for maintaining the shape, size and health of their feathers.