A Bird Bathing

By | June 10, 2010

Bird Taking A Bath

Bird Taking A Bath

Bird Taking A Bath

Bird Taking A Bath

Bird Taking A Bath

It is fascinating how birds really get into taking a bath.

When birds bathe in water or saturate themselves with dust they are actively maintaining their plumage. In well-watered areas bathing is most common, in arid ones dusting is more often observed.

In a typical sequence a bird stands in the water, fluffs the feathers to expose the bare skin between their bases, and rapidly flicks the wings in and out of the water. The breast is submerged and rolled vigorously back and forth, and then, as the front end emerges, the head is thrown back, forming a cup with the partially elevated wings and tail, and dousing the feathers of the back. Those feathers are elevated so that the water reaches the skin, and then lowered, forcing the water between them. The sequence may be repeated, with the bird submerging farther in each cycle, until it is a mass of soaked disarranged feathers. Variations on this theme can be seen in different species, such as robins, thrushes, mockingbirds, jays, and titmice.

Author: Steve Creek

An Arkansas-based wildlife photographer specializing in the wildlife found in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Steve’s images are created from his overwhelming passion for being outdoors with cameras in tow.

0 thoughts on “A Bird Bathing

  1. MaineBirder

    Fantastic series Steve! The “Chipper” is the most common bird at our bird bath and water feature.

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  3. goldeneagle

    Gee, never saw a chirping sparrow do barrel rolls in my birdbath!

  4. Lili Feldman

    Steve, while all the shots are great, you have an award winning shot in the 5th pic!
    A bird shooting, what looks to be, water from it’s beak?! How in the world? I can see this one on the cover National Geographic, and any number of magazines! Go for it! Excellent work!

  5. Steve Creek Post author

    Thanks everyone and Lili thanks for your great comment about these being award winning.

  6. Judi King

    What a series, have never seen anything like it in all my years of bird watching. The backstoke, and then whale spouting, that’s some talented bird you have there. I agree with Lili, please do all your fans a favor and submit these to every photo contest out there, award winners for sure!!!

  7. Alisa Whitley

    Ok, how much did you pay the bird to model like this? 🙂 This is a fantastic series! I agreed they are award winners. 🙂

  8. Steve Creek Post author

    I am so glad everyone liked these photos and thank you very much for the great comments.

  9. Mary

    They’re all great, but the last shot is classic. Makes me want to go bird watching