"I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven."
Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Where do birds go to escape the rain?

This house finch flew onto our patio to escape a heavy downpour. Photo by J.J. Meyer
A friend of mine suggested that I write about how birds handle the rain.

It's clear that birds act differently depending on the severity of the weather.

I watched a hummingbird taking a shower in the first light rain of the season last year. It had been forever since we had seen rain. Many of the songbirds in my yard were ruffling their feathers, opening their wings, and made no attempt to escape the light shower.

But the birds acted differently in these recent heavy downpours. At one point there were 24 finches lined up on the eaves of our patio to escape the deluge. I watched a flock of white-crowned sparrows ditch into a thick hedge of cape honeysuckle.

A few years ago, while we were staying in an ocean-front hotel during a bad storm, we watched a flock of gulls seemingly having fun flying off the roof into the heavy wind and rain. While many gulls hunkered down on the beach, this small group seemed like crazy teenagers on a dare.

Anyway, my next O.C. Register column talks about how to layer plants in your yard to help the birds escape when they need take cover.

Happy Birding!

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