September 25, 2008

Bird Watch: Nest and dust bath & Post no. 300

Finally I was able to log my Pigeon Watch site on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Celebrate Urban Birds website. You can see my site on the map below.

I have not made any systematic observations at my birdwatch since June but there seem to be many more pigeons at the site. At home, the hummingbirds were back for a week or two. In other bird news, I found a nest in the quince tree outside my living room window and a dust bath in the front garden.

About the dust bath Leon Augustus Hausman writes,

One piece of apparatus, frequently overlooked when one is equipping a bird-attracting station, is the dust bath. This is almost as necessary as a water bath....Birds take dust baths to help rid themselves of skin parasites, particularly the so-called bird lice.

Hausman recommends a tray of dry road dust. My dust bath is very informal. It's a mix of garden and bagged soil that I left unplanted in the garden. Note the bowl shape as well as the mounds of soil in the photograph above.

Lastly, this is the 300th post on the local ecology blog - local ecologist. Thank you to our readers and commentators.

3 comments:

  1. Huh, I had never heard that about the dust bath! Good thing I have some (laziness-caused) blank spaces in the garden. Have you ever seen the hummingbirds use it? Or is it just for the other birds? Congrats on your milestone, that's a lot of thought and effort you have put forth! I really enjoy your posts and they make me miss the Bay Area like crazy.

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  2. Dust bathing may aid in ridding feathers of ectoparasites, but also helps remove water and lipids from the plumage, thereby keeping them from matting and helping maintain the insulating qualities of the plumage. See: Healey, W.M. and J.W. Thomas. 1973. Effects of dusting on plumage of Japanese Quail. Wilson Bulletin 85:442-448.

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  3. local ecologistSeptember 02, 2012

    A belated thank you to Karen. By the way, I've never seen a hummingbird dust bath.

    Anonymous, I appreciate the bio-fact and citation information!

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