Light as a Feather

An avian anatomical superpower

Only birds have feathers. They repel water, provide insulation, and protect the skin. They can conceal or advertise a bird, and they help birds recognize members of their own species for courtship and breeding. And of course, having feathers is one of the adaptations that allow most birds to fly.

BY Donna Parham

Photos by: Tammy Spratt/SDZG; GlobalP/iStock/Getty Images Plus; Terryfic3D/iStock/Getty Images Plus; epantha/iStock/Getty Images; Boonchuay_Promjiam/iStock/Getty Images Plus.