Wind - Role in The Natural World - Effect On Animals

Effect On Animals

Cattle and sheep are prone to wind chill caused by a combination of wind and cold temperatures, when winds exceed 40 kilometers per hour (25 mph), rendering their hair and wool coverings ineffective. Although penguins use both a layer of fat and feathers to help guard against coldness in both water and air, their flippers and feet are less immune to the cold. In the coldest climates such as Antarctica, emperor penguins use huddling behavior to survive the wind and cold, continuously alternating the members on the outside of the assembled group, which reduces heat loss by 50%. Flying insects, a subset of arthropods, are swept along by the prevailing winds, while birds follow their own course taking advantage of wind conditions, in order to either fly or glide. As such, fine line patterns within weather radar imagery, associated with converging winds, are dominated by insect returns. Bird migration, which tends to occur overnight within the lowest 7,000 feet (2,100 m) of the Earth's atmosphere, contaminates wind profiles gathered by weather radar, particularly the WSR-88D, by increasing the environmental wind returns by 15 knots (28 km/h) to 30 knots (56 km/h).

Pikas use a wall of pebbles to store dry plants and grasses for the winter in order to protect the food from being blown away. Cockroaches use slight winds that precede the attacks of potential predators, such as toads, to survive their encounters. Their cerci are very sensitive to the wind, and help them survive half of their attacks. Elk have a keen sense of smell that can detect potential upwind predators at a distance of 0.5 miles (800 m). Increases in wind above 15 kilometers per hour (9.3 mph) signals glaucous gulls to increase their foraging and aerial attacks on thick-billed murres.

Read more about this topic:  Wind, Role in The Natural World

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