Friday, February 28, 2014

Bathing Beauties

One thing that I always enjoy is watching birds bathe. They always seem to take such delight in splashing around in water.

This was certainly true of a Green Jay that I saw last year in the Rio Grande Valley.

It was true, too, of some Painted Buntings and Northern Cardinals that I watched at South Llano River State Park.

It is equally true of most of our resident birds in Cypress, such as House Finches and White-winged Doves.

It is also the case with some of the winter visitor to our yards, like this Orange-crowned Warbler.

However, as I mentioned a few postings ago, one bird that I never see bathing is the Carolina Wren. Do they really never bathe? Or could it be that they are exceptionally modest and wait until nobody is looking?

I discovered the answer the other day when both our resident Carolina Wrens turned up together at the birdbath outside our living-room window. Both birds did bathe - but they spent only a second or two in the water. Whereas other birds splash around for sometimes several minutes, our Wrens were in and out of the water in a flash. They were so quick that, even though they both entered the bath several times, I never managed to get a photo of either of them actually in the water. All I got were photos of them considering taking the plunge ...

... and then drying off.

Given how little time the birds spent in the water, it was amazing how long they then spent drying off and preening.

Getting their wings back into shape is pretty easy ...

... but getting the tail sorted takes a lot more effort.

In the end, the only way to get that tail right is to give it a really good shake.



No comments: