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Do birds take water bath only when weather is hot?

on 5th January 2008

Reading an earlier blog on the bathing of a Little Heron chick rescued from the wild, Susan Wong commented that she noticed a small flock of Javan Mynas (Acridotheres javanicus) bathing in the many puddles of water formed outside her house.

Susan is of the view that birds bathe to cool themselves during a hot day. The said mynas were bathing at 7.30 am when the sun had yet to rise.

Unfortunately Susan did not have her camera with her that morning so instead, we have provided an image of the Eurasian Tree Sparrows ( Passer montanus ) having a bath in a puddle of water (below).

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Yes, birds do bathe on a hot day to cool themselves. A juvenile Buffy Fish Owl (Ketupa ketupu) was observed in the Lower Peirce forest in April 2007 to fly into the water for a bath during the morning or evening when the weather was hot and sunny.

But they also bathe to clean their feathers of dust and ectoparasites, and this may not necessarily be on a hot day.

Besides bathing in puddles formed after rain, they also take advantage of the water droplets that collect on leaves after a heavy spray of water by a gardener or after a drizzle.

Susan Wong
Malaysia
January 2008
(Image by Chan Yoke Meng)

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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