Other animals may wear scales, skin, hard shells, or fur, but only birds have feathers.
(photo by Rinusbaak, Dreamstime)
Songbirds the size of chickadees have as many as 4,500.
But swans top them all--they have more than 25,000 feathers!
Now at this point, I can't decide if I want to tell you some more serious facts about feathers or some sort-of-dumb bird jokes that you've probably heard before, but can still laugh. (or not!) So YOU decide. The serious facts are in green print. Skip them to get to the jokes!
Feathers range in size from 0.05 inches on a bird's eyelid to 5 feet long tail feathers on a peacock. Wow!
If a bird loses a feather, another one grows in its place. They grow fast, too, as much as a quarter inch or more a day! Feathers become worn and are replaced about once a year through a process called molting.
We bundle up with coats, hats, and mittens. But a bird's feathers regulate its body temperature. That's called thermoregulation. Fluffing their feathers traps many tiny pockets of air to hold in body heat and keeps out the cold. In hot weather, the bird presses its feathers close to the body to eliminate the insulating air pockets so body heat can escape.
A Few Sort-of-Dumb Bird Jokes:
What do you call a crate of ducks? a box of quackers
What does a duck like to eat with soup? quackers
What birds spend a lot of time on their knees? birds of prey
Why did the chicken cross the basketball court? He heard the referee call fouls.
What did the sick chicken say? "I have people pox."
Who do seagulls live near the sea? Because if they lived near the bay, they'd be called bagels.
Come on, smile just a little bit! You know you want to!