The colours and patterns of feathers present among the most necessary clues we have now for figuring out birds and are typically fairly dependable. Only some issues alter the looks of feathers. They grow to be worn and light over time. They are often quickly shifted misplaced, disrupting the everyday shade sample and generally revealing an surprising grayish or whitish shade of the uncovered feather bases.
Feathers can even grow to be stained or discolored by exterior substances, and the commonest of those is easy water. Feathers are water repellent, and water normally simply rolls off (like water off a duck’s again), leaving the feather unchanged. When feathers are subjected to an actual dousing, among the water sticks to the feather, they usually grow to be moist. This occurs most frequently when water is in some way pressed into the feathers: sparrows pushing by means of moist grass, doves uncovered to an prolonged heavy downpour of rain, or warblers taking a shower.
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