The American Dipper has adapted to its environment in different ways throughout its existence. It has a soft filmy plumage with a very thick undercoat of down which helps to keep the bird well insulated so that it can stay warm during the cold winters. Another way it deals with the freezing winter temperatures is by having a low metabolic rate and extra oxygen-carrying capacity in its blood. The American Dipper’s preen gland is much larger and more active than other passerine birds. This gland provides oil to kThe American Dipper storing fat for the cold winter. Used with permission from Lee Rentz Photography and can be found at the birds’ feather waterproof so it can live out its daily life in the water (Austin 1961). It is because of these adaptions that the bird is able to hunt year round and withstand such harsh conditions. The harsh conditions they endure include extremely cold temperatures of around -45 degrees Celsius. During this time they feed under places in the ice that aren't completely frozen over (Perrins 1985). It is said that they are not bothered by these temperatures and that no canyon is too cold for them (Muir 2013). Fat storage is essential for the American Dipper so that it can survive the winter. They build up fat reserves during the transition time of summer to winter because they know less food and shorter days are soon to come (Whitehorne 2010). The American Dipper has adapted a moveable flap covering their nostril to keep water out of their nose while swimming underwater. They also needed a structure that was going to help keep water out of their eyes while being around splashing water. For this purpose they have a third membrane over their eye called a nictating membrane. The American Dipper's adpatations have been crucial to its survival in the aquatic environment where it lives.


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