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Possible Answers to Oiled Feather-Cleaning Experiment

Step 1 Answers

What kinds of water birds can you think of?

  • Ducks, geese, and other waterfowl
  • Gulls, puffins, and other seabirds
  • Sandpipers and other shorebirds

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What kinds of things do water birds do?

  • Swim on the water.
  • Dive into the water.
  • Fly.
  • Feed.
  • Migrate.

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What do feathers do for water birds?

  • Keep the bird warm.
  • Waterproof the bird.
  • Help them fly.

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Step 5 Answers

What happened to the feathers when they got oiled?

  • They got soggy.
  • They got matted.
  • They got heavier.

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How do you think this might affect a water bird wearing these feathers?

  • Oiling makes it harder for the bird to stay warm.
  • Oiling makes the bird less waterproof.
  • Real, fresh oil is toxic, so it can poison the bird.

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Step 6 Answers

You probably found that washing the feathers with hot water and detergent was the best way to remove the oil from the feathers. However, this actually isn't the best method to use when you're washing a live bird. When a bird has been coated with oil, it becomes weak, and it isn't able to regulate its body temperature very well. Putting a live bird in hot water when it's in this condition can be dangerous for it. People cleaning oiled birds use water that's at ambient temperature—the same temperature as the environment around the bird. They also make sure to keep the building where they're washing the birds warm: this way, the birds don't get too hot or too cold.

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Last updated Monday, April 16, 2012 4:30pm PDT