1. erebh
    Offline

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,620
    Likes Received:
    467
    Location:
    Los Angeles

    do birds have coats?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by erebh, Mar 17, 2013.

    very quick question that might sound silly but I can't find it anywhere. Animals have fur coats - would birds just have feathered coats?
     
  2. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,605
    Likes Received:
    5,879
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    Don't think so. I think it's just "feathered" birds.
     
  3. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,728
    Likes Received:
    4,826
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I have never seen the word "coat" in reference to a bird's feathers. I wouldn't use it even if it's considered technically correct among wildlife biologists. It would stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.
     
  4. erebh
    Offline

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,620
    Likes Received:
    467
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    ok thanks - weird that we don't know for sure... Any ideas on how to describe what a bird wears?

    The lion's coat shone under the moonlight like a

    The bird's.............

    it all sounds weird to me...
     
  5. iolair
    Offline

    iolair Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Exeter, UK
    Plumage
     
  6. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Birds have down and feathers. The down is fine, fluffy feathers primarily to retain heat. The outer feathers feathers are stiffer, and often water-repellent. The feathers keep wind and water from penetrating the down.

    Plumage typically refer to the outer feathers, particularly those raised in display for aggression or courtship.
     
  7. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    if you want to wax somewhat poetic:

    the bird's feathery garb

    biblical:

    the bird's coat of many colors
     
  8. JayClassical
    Offline

    JayClassical Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2013
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    1
    write it down anyways and the masses will accept it.
     
  9. thewordsmith
    Offline

    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    Most "smaller" bird species lose most of their down as they grow to maturity. The mature birds have a very thin downy layer close to the skin. These are the feathers they most often used to pad their nests at egg laying time to create a softer bed for their young. You may have heard the phrase "birds preening their feathers". This refers to a bird's process of using their beak to spread the oil produced on the skin throughout the feathers and, as needed, to clean that oil away. This helps the birds to regulate the heat retained or to cool them as needed. Birds of all feather, so to speak, utilize this process for cleaning purposes.

    You may have noticed at times how some birds appear to be "fluffier" than normal. This is because they have loosened the the oil in the feathers sufficiently to fluff the feathers and, thereby, create a thermal layer, much like a woven thermal blanket you might use, to retain more heat.

    Perhaps you've seen pictures of dead and/or dying birds covered in the sludge from an oil spill. This oil is far heavier than the birds' own body oils and, just like a human being, they 'breath' through pores in the skin as well as through their respiratory system. Also, water birds need to maintain a proper balance of oil to air pockets among their feathers in order to retain bouyancy. When their feathers become encased in the heavy oil sludge, they cannot loosen the feathers and, like the proverbial rock, they sink.

    That's the long form answer and, undoubtedly more than you wanted to know. (Quick question - long answer) The short form is, "No. Birds don't have coats. They have feathers."
    (Bats, btw, do have fur, though they are not, technically, birds but flying mammals.)
     
  10. AVCortez
    Offline

    AVCortez Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    Messages:
    391
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Only the fabulous ones.
     
  11. lettuce head
    Offline

    lettuce head Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Ohio
    Warped humor. Gotta love it.
     
  12. Jetshroom
    Offline

    Jetshroom Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Australia
    I read Fur coat, I want to say Feather Boa.
     
  13. live2write
    Offline

    live2write Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    Messages:
    523
    Likes Received:
    53
    They are actually called Feathered Coats
     
  14. John Eff
    Offline

    John Eff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    I've worked with birds for many years and have never heard their covering called anything other than 'feathers' or 'plumage'. If you have to give them a name, 'coat of' is as good as any.

    If it has any relevance to your research, some of the wordsmith's facts need correcting....birds do use down to line a nest, but don't get the idea they pluck their own - they need it. They'll use loose down (theirs or others') found lying around.

    Preening has nothing to do with regulating body temperature. It's for keeping the feathers free of parasites and in top condition, and they use oil from the preen gland (not the skin) which they work into the feathers to keep them waterproof. (This applies to the vast majority of birds, and there are birds without a preen gland who use a different method)

    If a bird needs to warm up it does so by raising the feathers (it can raise every single one of thousands individually) to trap a layer of air between them. To cool down, the bird pants or grabs a cold beer. No oil is involved in either process.
     

Share This Page