Brown-headed Honeyeaters bathing in rain droplets

Subject: Brown-headed Honeyeaters bathing in rain droplets
From: Penny Brockman <>
Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 10:19:28 +1000
Michael Todd wrote:

Hi all,

On Sunday morning I spent a few hours wandering around a part of the
Awaba Forest (central coast NSW, west of Lake Macquarie) that I
haven’t spent much time in before. Didn’t see many species although a
small party of Southern Emuwrens was nice- I hadn’t seen SEW around
Awaba so far this year. Also a new wrecked car (a regular event
unfortunately). Mind you, wrecked cars (set alight), are the most
common cause of “patchy burning” at Awaba which brings about a variety
of understorey densities.

Of interest was a group of Brown-headed Honeyeaters that was kicking
up quite a fuss in the canopy of eucalypts. There had been short
shower earlier in the morning and there was a light layer of water
still on the leaves. At first I thought they were gleaning lerp or
insects off the leaves and were doing it in an overly vigorous
fashion. After watching them for a while I came to the conclusion that
they were vigorously shaking and flapping their wings in amongst the
leaves having a kind of bath. There must have been about 30 birds.

Dear Mike and all
I regularly see birds taking baths in the tops of the eucalypts at the
back of my garden mornings after heavy dew or light rain. Most commonly
these are Red Wattlebirds, OB Figbirds, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and
Galahs. The Figbirds after a long dry period, get extremely enthusiastic
and completely soak themselves, and both they and RWBs throw themselves
into the topmost canopy flapping around like kids enjoying the surf at
the beach.

I also remember early morning watching Brown and Striated Thornbills
doing this after heavy dew in the Capertee Valley.

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