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Can Birds Fly In The Rain?

If you’re a lover of animals or nature generally and you have a curious mind like mine. You may have at one time, or the other asked yourself or someone questions like: “can birds fly in the rain?” and if they can: “Why do we hardly see them flying around when it’s raining?”


Sometimes we find answers to such questions, and other times we just lock them in till we forget we ever had such questions. Before you think too far, you may as well think of all the several reasons why humans and many other animals don’t work or walk in the rain.

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The truth is, many birds can actually fly in the rain – but often, they prefer not to. However, they may try to fly across short distances when it’s raining or when the weather condition isn’t friendly. Birds like chicken, duck, ostrich, etc. don’t fly anyway, so their unwillingness to fly in the rain doesn’t need to be questioned. These set of birds need human help while it’s raining.

Here’s Why You May Find Birds Flying in the Rain

To get food during the breeding season:
You may find a bird flying in the rain to get food for themselves or their young ones during breeding seasons.

Escape from Predators:
Birds may fly in the rain to get away from predators or any other thing they perceive as a danger or threat.

Why it’s Rare to See birds Flying in The Rain?

The reason why many or most birds don’t fly in the rain has more to do with the air pressure during the rain rather than the rain droplets itself. During rain or heavy storms, the air pressure in the atmosphere is reduced drastically making it difficult for birds to fly.

can birds fly in the rain


Birds need greater pressure to push their wings from below. When a greater pressure pushes their wing, it gives them what is known as aerodynamic lift. This pressure enables them to fly comfortably in the air with their wings. Conversely, during adverse weather conditions like a rainstorm, the atmospheric pressure reduces considerably making it difficult for many birds, especially the small ones, to fly.

When the atmospheric pressure becomes low, the atmospheric air reduces in density, i.e., the air becomes less dense. The reason is that there are more particles in the atmosphere, such as rain droplets, humidity, etc. taking up available spaces, thereby reducing the space for air particles. Birds generally need very dense air to fly efficiently because they need more air to propel and give them the aerodynamic lift they need to glide through the atmosphere successfully without much stress.

When this dense air becomes unavailable due to rain or a heavy storm, most birds would or can be seen perching on tree branches, under short grasses or shrubs.

Have you ever missed a bus, go late to work, or miss classes because it’s raining?

The same way rain makes it hard for you and me to go about our routine activities, it’s the same way it makes it hard for birds to fly. Aside from the reduction in air density that we’ve discussed earlier, birds are also at risk of running into a pole, tree, building, or electric wires due to blurry vision when it’s raining. Smaller birds particularly usually have a hard time flying in the rain because they easily lose their body heat and energy in the rain.

Yes, birds have waterproof or water-resistant feathers which helps them or makes it possible for them to fly in the rain. Like humans and every other animal, birds have evolved over the years and have come up with several features and characteristics that enable them to adapt to their environment.

Birds have an oil gland called the uropygial gland located at the base of their tail, this gland produces oil which they spread over their body using the beak. This oil provides a kind of water resistance or waterproof coat on their body.

They also have what we call a third eyelid, a kind of transparent membrane that swings sideways over their eyes to help them remove water and enable them to see clearly during a heavy downpour or light showers. These features keep them in good condition and make it possible for birds to fly comfortably in the rain.


While some birds don’t like to fly in the rain. Others, such as ducks, water birds, and some big birds don’t even mind gliding through it whenever they want. With the birds developing some adaptive features such as the oil gland, waterproof feathers, and third eyelid, etc, it is now very clear that most birds have what it takes to fly during the rain.

Although this is possible, they often prefer not to fly in the rain due to several reasons that we have highlighted earlier. Another thing that could make a bird take the bold step into the rain is food. Birds need to eat several times daily to get enough energy for sustenance and development.

They need to eat , to keep themselves warm or keep their body temperature at par with that of the environment or risk having what is known as hypothermia. Humans have what it takes to walk in the rain, but we often don’t do it for several reasons. You may try to remember the times you’ve played, danced, and sing songs like “Rain! Rain! Go away, come again another day, little children want to play,” In the rain.

Like humans, birds have what they need to fly successfully in the rain and often choose not to for many reasons that we’ve talked about. So next time you don’t see a pigeon or hulk flying around during a rain, don’t get too worried or curious.

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Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at

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