Did you ever get a piece of food stuck in your mouth or bill; and you can’t find a toothpick? Just use your toe to get it out, grin.
Northern Cardinal , male.
There are birds such as; types of doves, pigeons, woodpeckers, etc, that have special feathers that they grow to fall apart at or about the ends of their feathers into a type of powder down that they will use to clean and protect their feathers; some birds will use the fine powder as a water-proofing agent
The special feathers, are called powder down,it is the only type of feathers that the birds has that will keep growing all the time doing the bird’s life.
The birds other feathers will not molt ( fall off} all at the same time. The reason being that the birds needs to keep most of their feathers for flying, and keeping warm. The birds will slowly loss and replace their feathers with new ones over a period of several months.
This Mourning Dove is cleaning its feathers.
It is important that birds keep their feathers clean dry and flexible; it helps them to stay healthy. The term used for cleaning feathers is called preening. Most of the birds will clean themselves several times a day.
There are many birds that have special oil that comes from a gland near the base of their tails. They will use that oil to help clean their feathers, and some birds will use their oil to weatherproof their feathers.
The bird below is a American Robin cleaning its feathers.
Here is one of the ways the birds keeps warm in the winter months.
The bird’s body heat will help to warm the air and trap it in between its feathers, making layers of air pockets. When it is cold the birds looks like they have put on weight, but it is just their fluffy feathers that makes them look larger.
The bird here is a Dark-eyed Junco, staying warm.