Emus bathing on a hot day

To: "'Euan Moore'" <>, <>
Subject: Emus bathing on a hot day
From: "Stephen Ambrose" <>
Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2012 09:15:47 +1100
On several occasions in the 1980s I observed emus bathing in seawater at
Kanidal Beach, Eyre Bird Observatory. Each observation was mid- or
late-afternoon, i.e. during or just after the hottest part of the day, so
I've always assumed that the bathing was a means by which emus cooled down.
Emu footprints were often seen in coastal dunes between the observatory and
the beach, suggesting that bathing at the beach was more frequent than what
was observed.

Emus have the smallest brains relative to body size of any bird species.
The brain is kept cool in part by losing excess body heat through panting
and bare patches of skin on the head, neck and legs (known as thermal
windows).  When emus drink water from dams, cattle troughs and wetlands on a
hot day they usually splash water over their head and neck to increase the
rate of heat loss through evaporative cooling.
Stephen Ambrose
Ryde NSW

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of sandra
Sent: Thursday, 20 December 2012 6:43 AM
To: Damian Kelly
Cc: Euan Moore; <>
Subject: Emus bathing on a hot day

It's also been seen and photographed at Tidbinbilla in the ACT. See Ray
Drew's image in his message at

sandra henderson


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