Waterproof feathers

Today, we learned that Arctic land animals stay warm by growing a thick fur coat during the winter. Our little scientists wanted to know how penguins and other Arctic birds stay warm in the frigid temperatures. So, of course, that called for another science experiment! We learned that these birds have feathers instead of fur, and that they coat their feathers in an oily substance to make them waterproof. We tested a non-treated feather in water to discover that it was soaked and soggy in seconds. We decided that that feather wouldn’t do a very good job of protecting a bird from the cold water. We then coated another feather in oil, and tested it in the water. We discovered that the water rolled right off the protected feather, leaving it nice and dry.

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