Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bath Time for Moulters.

This time of year many of our bush birds are in the process of moulting. Many of them look very 'daggy', and some present even more difficulty identifying them. As if seperating Flame Robins from their Scarlet cousins isn't difficult enough for many new birders, when in moult they can be even more of a challenge. The image at the bottom is a case in point. In fact it's a male Scarlet Robin (trust me!). It's not only in moult, but has recently bathed. The other images are of a female Scarlet Robin that came down to a pool that I was watching, and although I'm sure it was very aware of my presence, decided either that I was no threat, or the need to bathe was worth the risk. As I've mentioned in the past, I think that the birds are irritated by bits of the sheath that the new feathers were encased in, and having a bath helps remove them. Also, as anyone who has handled wild birds knows, there are a range of insects that live in among the feathers, and bathing may remove some of them. Probably a bit of the truth in both those possibilities. Top bathers are Robins, Silvereyes, Black-headed, Strong-billed and Yellow-throated Honeyeaters, Brown Thornbills and Scrubwrens.
[As I'm having more eye surgery, there may be some delay in publishing my next blog]

4 comments:

Duncan said...

We're quite happy to wait for more pictures like these. All the best Alan.

BirdingTas said...

Thanks for the compliment Duncan. At the moment I'm one finger typing, with the assistance of a less than satisfactory left eye, and a patch over the right!! I'm sure I'll be back in business soon.

Kim Murray said...

Best of luck with the surgery Alan. I am really enjoying your blog and hope you are back posting soon. Kim

BirdingTas said...

Thanks for your best wishes Kim, and your comments too. With modern eye surgery it's pretty straight forward these days. Just a bit inconvenient for a while if birding and photography are your bag!