One thing that struck me regarding bird baths was that different bird
species like to bathe at different heights. I have three water dishes set
out, one is balanced on a fence post, and two are on the ground next to that
fence post (under a tree). Superb Blue Fairy-wrens definitely prefer the
ground dish. Red-capped Robins are interesting to watch - females go for
full immersion and a long splashing bath, but red males tend to be quick in
and out, (so's the colour won't run?)
A friend on a farm at Sunny Corner NSW uses an old electric frypan as a bird
bath, placed in the garden, fairly low. Red-browed Firetail Finches
regularly bath there, sometimes a dozen all in together, with constant
shaking of feathers while standing in the water. Looks for all the world
like a pan full of sizzling what-nots with all that water spraying about.
Back home, I've watched a young White-winged Chough learning to drink from
the ground-level dish. The youngster was standing next to an adult, as if
in a "lesson" situation. The adult put its beak into the water then tilted
its head back. The youngster dipped in its beak but didn't tilt its head
back. It kept watching the adult, and eventually got the idea of the
correct action. I don't recall seeing the Choughs bathe in water, they just
Eastern Yellow Robins get so sodden in the bath they can hardly fly (and the
colour never runs!)
Wallabies and roos drink at the low dishes, and a goanna too.
And yes, the White-throated Tree-creeper always backs into the water and
keeps its head at that "awkward" upright angle (like its got a crook back).
Lots more species to tell about, maybe another time.
Capertee Valley NSW
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