Bird baths

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Subject: Bird baths
From: "Val Ford" <>
Date: Sun, 19 May 2002 09:08:28 +1000
Reading the recent postings on bird bath observations made me think about my shallow above ground bath.  I get so much enjoyment watching the comings and goings of various species.  I even get excited watching blackbirds do their rotating 'scrubbing up' act.
It is also interesting observing how within a species each individual behaves in a different way when doing its ablutions. Small groups of Red Wattlebirds, Brown Thornbills, Singing Honeyeaters and others all offer great excuses to sit and watch.
Yesterday I watched a group of Brown Thornbills at the bath.  The first 5 came in and were then replaced at frequent intervals by others waiting in the trees nearby.  However the actions of the 5 were all totally different. 
One very nervously jumped in then out again straight away, another stood on the edge and dipped in a couple of times.  A couple did 'laps' across the bath.  The fifth dipped in and out, at least fifteen times, staying in a little longer each time and looking more and more like a drowned rat.
Even though I have a Golden Whistler in the garden on a daily basis last week I observed for the first time one using the bath.  And whilst I have Silvereyes regularly in the garden I have never seen one at the bath.  Maybe if I spend even more time sitting and watching they will also perform for me.
Then there the birds that once 'resident' in the bath will ignore and frustrate attempts by other species to use the bath.  My Australian Magpies, Grey Butcherbirds, Little Ravens and even Spotted Turtle-doves are all masters of this anti-social behaviour.
 Must go - the Eastern Spinebills are getting ready for their ablutions.
Val Ford
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