Parrots and water

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Parrots and water
From: "Tony Russell" <>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 13:59:01 +1030
We are having a hot summer here in Adelaide and given that my new garden now has two bird baths I have been watching carefully which birds come in to use them . By far the greater time is taken by Musk Lorikeets spread over the whole day, interrupted by sorties of Noisy Miners which scare them away. The Muskies are in quite large numbers, like 20 or 30, and hang around in the low branches of trees near the baths all the time, using the baths at every opportunity for drinking and bathing. The miners number similarly but only seem to drink and not bathe.  Other "parroty" types which spend a lot of time at the baths are small groups of Eastern and Adelaide Rosellas, and Rainbow Lorikeets, but again more for drinking than bathing.
Other birds seen using the baths are Magpie Larks, many Crested Pigeons and Spotted Turtle-Doves, a pair of Blackbirds, and a family of White-backed Magpies. The New Holland and White-plumed H/E's seem too scared by all the activity to come near, although I can hear them in the upper reaches of the trees with the Striated Pardalotes.  But again, the dominant species present at the baths are the various parrot types and I'm wondering whether these need water more often than others.  Is there any body of information on these relative needs for water ? It seems well known that smaller birds, i.e. finches ( which I don't have any of, not even House Sparrows,  have a need to take water frequently, but in the case of , for instance, the Rosellas, these are fairly big birds.   I do also have a group of some 15-20 Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and the odd Little Raven and BFCS around the place, but they never come down to the water.
What are other people observing at their bird baths ? Are there observable patterns of species and time spent drinking and/or bathing.?
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