Bathers

Grackle HS Bath IMG_5551_1

One thing about the fountains at Lake Shore East Park – they provide an irresistible temptation to bathe for the birds. At least for the Common Grackles that have been hanging out there in numbers.

The first video is from September 4 and the second one is from yesterday, September 18, exactly two weeks later. On the 4th a House Sparrow joined in but I didn’t manage to get him in the video. Yesterday a Gray-Cheeked Thrush responded to the temptation of flowing water.

Gray-Cheeked Thrush

Gray-Cheeked Thrush

At first I thought this was a Swainson’s Thrush but on closer review it turned out to be Gray-Cheeked which is much more unusual.

Apologies for the construction noise accompanying the second video! They’re building another high-rise apartment building across from the park.

Grackle Bath LSE IMG_6645

A few more bathing stills…

Grackle Bath IMG_6646

The last is with the House Sparrow before I started the video recording.

Grackle HS Bath IMG_5541

Come on in, the water’s fine!

Bathing Crow

We got a little more rain last week, complete with a pleasant drop in temperature on Tuesday, but I wasn’t able to get out to the park for lunch until the following day when it hit 100 degrees again. I walked slowly and sat down on a bench near the tree I’d put peanuts under for the young crows. It seemed like a pretty usual, hot day with nothing much going on, maybe too hot to even take a picture. The grass was noticeably greener from the last time I took pictures, but it’s grass.

Then I noticed some European Starlings bathing in a nice big puddle that was left from the rain the night before. I like to see birds bathing, even Starlings. To see anybody bathing after the prolonged drought and heat was good enough.

I wonder if one young crow was new to the idea though. I personally have never seen a crow bathe. I started taking pictures of this crow when he first stood in the water. I wondered if he’d gone to wash off a peanut or something, which is one way I’ve seen crows use puddles, but he seems to be contemplating his reflection instead.

Or maybe this was the moment of decision about whether to bathe or not, because after he tasted the water, the next thing he did was start bathing in it.

And he was so delighted with himself, he looked right at me as if to say, “yes, it’s as fun as it looks.”

Then he proceeded to bathe again. For the full demonstration, this is how it’s done.

Bend your knees (birds’ knees bend exactly the opposite of the way humans’ do, by the way – do not try this at home). Put your head face down in the water (reminiscent of your first swimming lesson, perhaps).

Down. (“Now put your head in the water.”)

Now start flapping your wings.

Voila!