Can Birds Fly When Their Wings Are Wet? (Solved!)

It’s normal to see a bird sitting on the side when it’s pouring. Most birds will not fly when it is wet outdoors but what is the reason for this?

Can birds fly when their wings are wet?

Birds can fly when their wings are wet. Their body produces natural oil to help reduce the impact of water on the wings. However, if it is raining heavily, most birds will reach a point where the weight of the water makes it difficult to flap their wings. This can cause them to stop flying.

In most cases, birds will have no trouble gliding through wet conditions. They will easily handle conditions where it is a gentle downpour.

Most birds avoid flying in wet conditions because they don’t want to be exposed to a storm. Their visibility is reduced and this can leave them open to potential predators.

Here is a look at some of the reasons birds can fly in rain and why they will find a hiding spot in storms despite having this ability.

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Reasons Birds Can Fly in The Rain

1. Natural Oil Production

A bird’s wing is not always going to be the same. Some birds have smoother wings while others are going to have thicker feathers.

Regardless of a bird’s DNA, it is going to produce oil that allows its feathers to remain slick. It will not be soaking wet but it will have a sheen to it.

What is the reason for this?

The premise is for the wings to allow water to slide off as the bird is flying. This ensures the water doesn’t begin settling inside the feathers weighing the bird down.

Now, there is a limit to how effective the oil is but it does work well in gentle downpours.

Experts Say...
If you assess the physical structure of a wing, it is designed to let water slide off especially when moving. This is amplified by the natural oil production that helps create a slick surface for water to slide off of.

This is why it is common to see birds flying around in these conditions.

It is only when the weather gets heavy that a bird is going to find a hiding spot. They don’t want to get exposed to a lightning strike and/or a predator when it is raining too hard.

This is one of the reasons you don’t see birds fly when it is raining. They prefer not to rather than struggling physically.

can birds fly when their wings are wet

2. Shape of the Wing

Another factor involves the shape of a bird’s wing.

If you look at a bird’s wing, it is not going to be straight. It is going to be set at an angle and there are reasons for this that go beyond the rain.

One of the reasons has to do with aerodynamics and being able to fly properly. The wings can’t be straight out as that will make it difficult to flap them properly.

It is also important to keep the wings tucked and that only happens when they are set at an angle.

A bird’s wing is shaped on a slant, which means it lets the water slide off smoothly. This makes it easier to fly through wet conditions.

Due to the bird’s wing being shaped like this, it ensures the water continues to slide off while flying.

When it rains heavily, this allows the bird to cover short distances by pushing hard.

can birds fly when their wings are wet

3. Survival

This is a reason that is more about the gene pool developing over the years.

Birds have developed the ability to survive and that is what keeps them healthy. This includes being able to fly in rainy conditions unless it is pouring down.

Most birds need this ability to fly so they can survive. Otherwise, they would be open to being hunted as soon as it rains.

Related Questions

1. Can Birds Fly With Soaked Wings?

Birds can fly short distances with soaked wings. It’s common for a bird to fly in gentle rainstorms. However, most birds will prefer not to fly when it is raining as this exposes them to lighting strikes and/or predators.

2. Can Birds Be Too Wet To Fly?

Yes, birds can be too wet to fly. If the bird has been drenched in rain and it’s still pouring, the weight of the water might make it difficult to flap the wings. This can ground the bird until it dries up or the rain relents.

Final Thoughts

Can birds fly when their wings are wet?

Birds can fly when their wings are wet but usually shorter distances. If it is raining hard, a bird might decide to find a hiding spot until the conditions improve.

Read more on birds:

  1. How Birds Die
  2. Giving Coffee To A Bird
  3. Inbreeding With Birds
  4. Proven Binoculars For Birding
  5. How To Help Bird That’s Regurgitating