One of the peculiarities often left in the aftermath of a tornado is the tornado-plucked chicken – alive, but stripped of most, if not all of its feathers. This phenomenon was a rich source of myth and superstition in days gone by. A number of possible explanations have been offered over the years, including low-pressure systems at the heart of tornadoes and electric charges in the air. The most likely explanation is ‘flight-moult’, a defensive stress response that causes the chicken to shed its feathers. This way, potential predators are left with a mouth full of feathers instead of fresh chicken.