Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bird Bathing

Yellow Warbler Bathing
 In some ways birds are just like people. Like most of us hygiene is important to the birds. During a typical day, dirt and other debris can collect up on the feathers of a bird. This can affect their ability to fly properly. So to rectify this issue birds frequently bathe. Besides cleaning the feathers of dirt bathing can also help eliminate excess preening oils and help control parasites. Usually the bird will spread out its feathers to allow the water to get underneath and wash off any dry skin underneath.
Yellow Warbler Bathing
There are a number of different ways that birds bathe. Birds with strong feet wade into the water, partially submerge themselves, spread their wings and roll back and forth. They will also submerge their head and through it back to help get water on to their back. That is how this yellow warbler bathes. Birds with weaker legs, like swallows, will just skim across the water, taking a shower as they fly. Most woodpeckers bathe by spreading their wings and feathers when it is lightly raining or misting. In areas where their is little water birds will take a dust bathe. They role around in a patch of dirt or sand. The fine dust that they bathe in collects the  larger dirt and oils from their feathers and makes it easier to remove through rigorous shaking. During the winter birds typically do not bathe as often, but it is still necessary for them to bathe when they can. Often times they will bathe in snow melt or they will sometimes bathe in the snow itself. They use the snow similarly to how they would use dirt in a dirt bathe. They dig, role and throw the snow on themselves. When the snow melts the liquid washes away all of the excess gunk and the bird is clean again.


Gale said...

What a pretty yellow bird...even all wet!

HansHB said...

Lovely photo, great bird-post!

Gemma Wiseman said...

A most interesting post! And love the photos of this little yellow character!

Anonymous said...

Interesting read. It is always fun to watch birds bath.

Lighthousegal said...

I like to watch the birds bathe and flop around in the water. There is a low spot in my front yard that fills with water when it rains, the birds use this spot to bathe quite often after a rain.
Your photos of the pretty little Warbler are Awesome!

Anni said...

Aren't birds fun to watch as they bathe and preen?