The Preen Gland and Waterproofing
If you have live in any of the colder states
for any amount of time, you probably know that one of the best
ways to stay warm is to stay dry.
Have you ever wondered how birds can spend
hours in the rain without getting soaked to the bone?
Chickadees (like most birds) have a special
gland called the "preen gland" which is located on
their backs near the base of the tail. When squeezed, this gland
secretes a useful oil. The [preen] oil apparently has several
functions: to help keep the feathers flexible and waterproof and
to inhibit the growth of fungi and bacteria.
Birds use their beaks to squeeze oil from the
preen gland and apply it to their feathers. A preening bird then
uses its feet to spread the oil onto their head where the bird is
unable to reach with its beak.