Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Dust Baths

I noticed recently a number of birds taking dust baths. The reason birds indulge in this practice appears, at least in the literature, to be potentially diverse. On the day I photographed this Little Wattlebird (in my garden) the temperature was over 30C and the bird looked, as you can see, somewhat stressed, suggesting that it enables them to cool down, although it's not clear how this works. Has anyone a pet theory what the true purpose of this practice might be?

1 comment:

John Tongue said...

I remember, growing up on a farm, we had chooks which LOVED a dust bath. I was told then by people oled and wiser that it was to rid themselves of mites and lice, and so on. While I can see the logic of this, I have also seen birds dust-bathing on really hot days, but I'm not sure how this could have a cooling effect. Maybe the bugs bite more in the heat, and so the birds reach for the 'aerogard'??