Why Do Birds Puff Up Their Feathers in Summer?

Many birds puff their chest or fluff the feathers of their wings and necks, making them look bigger.

Why Do Birds Puff Up Their Feathers in Summer? Birds puff up their feathers in summer to adjust their body temperature, show affection, preen feathers, seek attention, and scare off predators. It happens when they are sick or ill and can be a sign of happiness. They vibrate bodies to shake the feathers of wings, chests, necks, and tails and release heat.

There are different reasons for a bird to puff up its feathers, as this behavior symbolizes pride or shows dominance over other creatures.

However, the reasons for such behavior can vary as some fluff bodies when they feel fearful, while others do so when they are happy or excited.

What does it mean when birds puff up their feathers in summer?

Birds can puff up their feathers by shaking their bodies when they are happy or excited to see the food in front of them or after mating.

They begin to shake their bodies slightly to extend the wings or feathers around their neck or bellies when they see a predator or a mating partner in front of them.

Adjusting body temperature

One of the prominent reasons for puffing feathers in summer is to cool their bodies by reducing the body temperature. They open up wings to allow air to pass through their feathers.

Moreover, pigeons, budgies, and a few other birds spread their wings after a bath to cool down their bodies during hot summer days as a cool breeze passes through their wings.

Fluffing helps release hot air trapped within the body during summer, allowing a cool breeze to pass through the feathers in the wings or chest.

I found a lot of birds spreading their wings after bathing in a water bowl, which can be a trick to adjust their body temperature accordingly.

Sign of happiness or anxiety

A bird puffing up his feathers can show happiness or excitement, and some other related behaviors are also seen as parrots closing their eyes after fluffing.

Moreover, I have found them showing this behavior whenever I get close to my pet parrots or budgies, as they can show happiness after seeing me.

In the same way, it can also happen due to fear, stress, or anxiety when they fear threats in their surroundings. They fluff feathers when they see a predator close to their cage.

So, it can be a sign of fear, and you need to check the safety issues after seeing them in this condition, as any predator can be responsible for causing discomfort.

Preening of feathers 

They can fix their feathers while puffing their chest or wings because dirt particles can stick to their bodies, particularly when wet.

In the same way, the food particles can also attach to their mouth or neck region while eating, so fluffing can help detach the particles when they shake their bodies slightly.

The humidity level is higher in summer, meaning everything gets sticky when air has a high moisture content. Similarly, the dirt particles can firmly attach to feathers and do not fall off.

This preening process also involves the organization of feathers for better flying. So, they have to make an effort to remove the dust or debris because they can fly efficiently with clean bodies.

Not feeling well

The birds usually suffer from fatigue and dehydration in hot weather when everything is extremely hot around them, like water in a birdbath or a metallic food tray.

Their bodies lose more moisture in warm weather due to sweating or evaporation of water, so they are prone to dehydration.

They cannot fly efficiently and sit on the ground when feeling sick because their bodies cannot provide enough energy to maintain the flying position.

Accordingly, they puff body feathers to reduce their body temperature after flying to some distance, as they can dehydrate after flying in a hot environment.

This behavior is commonly seen in birds when they do not feel well due to a hot environment, as their bodies can tolerate only 20 to 25 degrees Celsius.

Scare off predators

Some birds and animals hibernate in winter due to cold weather and less availability of food resources, as hibernation ensures survival in undesired conditions.

They have an increased risk of attacks from predatory animals and larger birds because they come out of the hibernating state during summer.

Accordingly, they puff up feathers to scare off predators as their overall body size increases. This tactic can help avoid rivals to keep them away from the territory but fails for bigger predators.

I found a pet parrot fluffing up the feathers of its crest when it saw a cat around its cage, which can be an intimidating act to scare the cat.

It can also occur when they are feeling fearful after seeing predators. So, the birds living in the wild do so frequently in summer to avoid the risk of attacks.

Seeking attention

Birds can also puff their bodies when they want to seek the attention of mating partners. A bigger male has more chances to attract females than a smaller one, as it looks like a competent bird.

Accordingly, they can expose the beautiful feathers covering their bodies by puffing up and flaunting their bigger, cleaner bodies in front of females.

This behavior makes them more visible and attractive to their partners, so they can get a chance to kiss each other or make cooing sounds together.

So, it can help them score a pleasant date with their life partner when they successfully impress her with their beautiful appearance.

What type of birds puff up their feathers in summer?

Some little birds, like pigeons, fluff their bodies when preening, engaging females, feeling sick, or trying to relax their bodies while sleeping.

In addition, the pectoral sandpiper also puffs its chest when trying to approach the partner, and it drops its wings and raises its tail when getting closer to her on the ground.

The parakeet budgies and parrots puff out their chest or crest to maintain warmth and show aggression or fear when looking at predators.

Moreover, sharp-tailed grouse are famous for their dancing moves and chest puffing when trying to impress their mates.

Furthermore, penguins and starlings also fluff feathers for mating purposes and to threaten predators, as this behavior increases overall body size and makes them look scary to predators.

Other migratory birds, like frigatebirds, engage in such spectacular displays when they inflate red sacs on their throats to catch the attention of female partners.

What is it called when birds fluff their feathers?

The term used for fluffing feathers in birds is piloerection when they extend the body feathers outward to maintain body temperature.

The word ‘piloerection’ comes from the Greek language, which means the erection of feathers when they are in an erect position to increase the amount of air in plumage.

This fluffing of feathers is common in hot and cold weather and keeps them cool in warm weather when they allow a cool breeze to pass through their wings.

In the same way, they can keep themselves warm by puffing their feathers in winter, which helps avoid shivering from cold weather.

They vibrate their bodies to fluff their necks or wings. Their bodies appear rounded and bigger when they vibrate bodies; otherwise, their bodies are slender and small.

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