Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Splish Splash!

Bathing is an important part of life for most birds. Feathers require maintenance in order to keep them in good shape. This maintenance usually consists of bathing and preening. Bathing can take place in an artificial bird bath or a natural pool of water. When water is not available dust or even ants can be used to help maintain the feathers.

Bathing can be accomplished in many ways depending on the type of bird. Some birds, such as swallows and flycatchers, will dip into the water in flight while other birds, like woodpeckers, will take baths in light rain. Many Birds, like this yellow warbler, will wade into the water, ruffle their feathers to expose the skin beneath, and rapidly beat their wings in and out of the water. While doing this they will role their breast back and forth in the water and then dip their head under. When they bring their head back up water that is caught between the back of the head and wings splashes the feathers on the back.

After the bath is complete the bird needs to get its feathers back in order. First it will dry itself by moving back and forth and forcing out any water from underneath its feathers. Since bathing often removes some of the oils that protect the feathers from the weather and help to keep them soft it is important for the bird to preen to replace the oils. It will rub its beak against the uropygial, or preening gland, which is located under the tail. It will then stroke each feather with the beak coating it with the necessary amount of oil and putting it back into place.


10 comments:

Michael and Hanne said...

Very original photos! I was wondering at first if it was a goldfinch!

Irene said...

Gorgeous shots! Irene

LauraX said...

such a beauty!

2sweetnsaxy said...

These are wonderful! Its hard to believe that beautiful little yellow thing was causing so much splash!
:-)

Kramer said...

really nice capture, and the color sets it off well.

Karen said...

Amazing action shots, and what a sweet little bird!

Honey at 2805 said...

Amazing pictures of yourlittle yellow bird!

fjÀllripan said...

Wonderful! At first sight I thought...where is the bird :) But there he was, looking so yellow and beautiful!

Dimple said...

I love the bath action! I enjoyed the last several posts, also. I will follow!

Judy said...

I have never watched the process so closely, with a non-water bird! I love the splashes all over the place!