You may have noticed shags ‘sunbathing’ at the beach with their wings spread out.
[Shags] are often seen sitting on a perch with their wings spread out, drying their feathers. This is because a shag’s feathers are not waterproof, making it easier for them to dive and stay underwater for an average of 20 to 30 seconds per dive. But it also means the birds quickly get waterlogged and cold. So after a bout of fishing, shags must spend a lot of time preening and drying to restore their feathers and warm up.
Source: Pied Shag.
It turns out bird feathers are very special. If you’d like to learn how they work then the free All About Feathers Interactive from the Cornell Lab Bird Academy provides easy and useful explanations.
It’s worth a few minutes of your time. 😀