Where Do Birds Go When It Rains? [A Clear Overview]

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Have you ever asked yourself where do birds go when it rains? When the rain starts, we must look for a place to shelter.

If you have looked through the window when it is raining, you have observed that the birds disappear too. There are different birds in the world.

This means every bird has a place where they go when it rains. Let’s have a look at where they go when it rains. 

READ MORE: Do Birds Use Birdhouses in the Winter?

Different Places Birds Go When it Rains

Birds behave differently during the rainy season, depending on their habitat, size, and food. When there is light rain, most of the birds are still active.

They can continue with their regular activity because they can make their feathers waterproof. Birds spend most of their time preening [1].

Preening is a way that they take care of their feathers. Apart from keeping them waterproof, preening also helps keep the feathers clean and free from parasites. 

The uropygial gland found near the tail produces an oily substance that helps feathers to be waterproof and keeps them flexible.

The birds help distribute this oil to each feather to protect and coat them. This prevents water from reaching beneath their skin.

1-Some Birds Migrate to Warmer Environments

Birds do not look for bushes to shelter themselves from. Instead, they fly where the weather is better. Studies show that some birds can even sense the slightest change in air pressure [2].

bird eating blueberries

When they sense a storm is coming, they quickly eat a bunch of food. They later fly to a safer location. When the rainfall is considerable, they do not move unless the rain catches them while migrating.

2-Adopting a Classic Posture

While others are running to search for safer grounds to shelter, several other birds do not. Even if the rain is extreme, a good number of the birds will continue to feed.

Most of their feathers are coated with natural oils that help them during the storm. Some of these birds stand with their beaks pointing at the sky when it’s raining.

This mechanism allows them to preserve energy since it reduces their contact area with falling drops. You may at some point see the birds gathered.

This prevents the rain from hitting them. It is not a way of keeping themselves warm.

What Are the Different Birds and Places They Shelter

1-Small Birds

bird getting warm in the winter

Small birds lose energy so fast compared to larger ones. When rain strikes, the small birds will seek shelter in thick shrubs.

Evergreen shrubs are the perfect shelter for birds during winter. Birds like quail, sparrows, and grouse benefit significantly from these shrubs during the rainy season. Shrubs provide not only shelter, but also water and nesting sites.

In urban areas, it is hard to find trees or bushes. Where do the birds go when it is raining in these areas? Mynas, kites. Crows and pigeons take shelter in places like balconies or terraces. 

Heavy rains cause them to look for shelter. During this moment, they preserve a lot of energy since they are not active. When it rains for an extended period, birds will be affected.

They must feed despite the repercussion since there is a shortage of energy. Prolonged stormy weather may cause the death of the birds since their bodies have low temperatures.

Birds have, with time, developed to resist bad weather. Their slender legs and tiny feet have counter-current circulation. The feet have cold blood, meaning a small amount of heat is lost when standing in cold areas.


falcon on the tree

Predatory birds like the falcon and eagles take advantage of this time to hunt their prey. They hunt those small birds that cannot fly properly because of random wind directions in the rain. 

Birds like house mynas use this time to feed. They usually feed on open grounds where the worms come out.

However, these birds cannot stay out for so long during heavy rains because their water-repellent is not permanent.

Heavy rains force them to seek shelter in nearby cliffs, trees, and other structures. Prolonged rains affect raptors because their prey is inactive.

READ MORE: What birds eat black sunflower seeds?

3-Water Birds

Most of these birds live in the water, so rain does not bother them. Water birds have unique features that help them adapt well to aquatic regions.

Those water birds adapted to rain and water seem to have more water-resistant feathers than the rest of the species. This is the reason they can live in water and heavy storms.

Their feathers have trapped air that comes in handy. It helps to keep warm during the rainy season and inhospitable environment caused by rain.

heron looking for food

Some water birds like ducks and herons use this opportunity to look for food. We mostly find them near the bushes and reeds.

4-Large Seabirds

Some large seabirds can fly under light rains for a few hours but cannot go for long because they will be wet. Seabirds cannot sit in the ocean for so long because the water is too rough.

Seabirds, like gulls, go back to the shore or inland to wait for the storm to calm down. Other birds seem to stay away from the land as possible.

If you see a seabird flying near the land is a sign that a storm is approaching. These large seabirds primarily seek shelter near the sea rock, trees, structures, bridges, buildings, and boats.

5-Small Seabirds

Smaller sea birds are the opposite of large ones. They cannot fly during the light rains. Because of their smaller weight, the wind sways them in any direction.

Because of this, they cannot see in the rain, colliding with one another, walls and trees, or power lines falling into the ground or the sea. They look for shelter in nearby places before heavy rains pour.

Check out this cute video.

READ MORE: How to Tell if a Baby Bird is Dying


Where do birds go when raining heavily?

Different birds go to different places but most birds will take refuge n trees and shrubs.

Where do birds sleep in the rain?

Northern Cardinal

When it rains, birds seek shelter in tree nooks, hedges, and snags. They will remain immobile to conserve energy.


Birds respond differently to rain. Small birds take shelter immediately compared to large ones. Other birds do not shelter at all, and others seem to migrate before the rains begin.

Where birds go when it rains entirely depends on the type of the bird, habitat, and food they eat. Next time when it’s raining, look and see how they respond to the rain.

small bird resting while raining


  • 1. DELIUS JD. Preening and Associated Comfort Behavior in Birds. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1988;525(1 Neural Mechan):40-55. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.1988.tb38594.x
  • 2. Beecher WJ. A Possible Navigation Sense in the Ear of Birds. American Midland Naturalist. 1951;46(2):367. doi:10.2307/2421984
Alina Hartley
Alina Hartley

Alina Hartley is a small-town girl with a ginormous love of bearded dragons. It all started with Winchester, a baby bearded who was abandoned at the shelter by his former owners because of a birth defect that caused one front leg to be shorter than the other. Alina originally went to the shelter looking for a guinea pig, but one look at Winchester and it was love at first sight. From that day on, Alina has dedicated her life to learning everything she can about bearded dragons. She loves helping new beardie parents start their incredible journey with these magnificent reptiles.
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