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Comfy & Safe: Clues
While he's preening, Robin looks plump because he's making his tummy and breast feathers stick out. Each feather is hooked to a tiny muscle. The robin can control each of those individual muscles. The feathers need to stick out for cleaning. He runs his beak through and scrapes off any dirt on the feathers. Here you can see the center line, where the feathers part and grow either over the left pectoral muscles or the right pectoral muscles.
Image: Don Severson
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