the bath

Robins really like bird baths, and lately they have been spending quite a bit of time in it.

robin bathing

Sometimes it’s a whole-body dunk, and sometimes just a belly splash. A couple of male robins have spent many minutes bathing over the last couple of days.  

All this bathing activity can’t be just for cooling off — the temperatures are only in the 40s and 50s most days.  Perhaps their newly molted feathers are itchy, or they are trying to drown their skin parasites?

robin bathing

Sometimes it’s just a long soak, in the now, very cool water. I was surprised to see them sit for such a long time — there are Cooper’s Hawks in the backyard that would love to have a robin for lunch.

robin bathing

The males are quite possessive of their bathing time. I can just imagine the male (left) chirping to the female on the right — “I’m not done yet!

robin bathing

And she chirps back — “Well, get on with it then!

robin bathing

“All right, all right!”
Do you have disputes over control of the bathroom facilities at your house?

13 thoughts on “the bath

    • A friend suggested that the reason robins like bathing is because they feed on the ground and get muddy, so bathing keeps their feathers cleaner. That would work as an explanation.

  1. The lesser goldfinches mobbed my birdbaths last week; now they’re headed south. Send the robins this way, Sue – I have lots of crabapples waiting.

    • I would but I think they fly south of us, not in the westerly direction they would need to go to get to your house. But I bet others will find it. Do you have Cedar Waxwings at your crabapple tree?

  2. I’ve often wondered about that too. They really get into it when they bathe! A few weeks ago I had a flock of about 30 to 40 robins in my yard for a few days. I’m not sure what they enjoyed more… the berries, the three bird baths or the mini water fountain. They were fun to host, but what a mess they left behind!

  3. Interesting….! I just love watching our native Purple Gallinules, Moorhens, and our multiple species of ducks doing this same thing that you’re backyard birds are doing! Seems that they are really enjoying themselves as they repeatedly dunk and slash over and over in the wetland ponds.

  4. Great photographs. All the birds seem to like having a bath and I love watching them but I do think some seem to enjoy it more than others. In our garden it is the migratory redstarts (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) that are the great bathers. Our European robin (Erithacus rubecula) is less keen on his bath. Amelia

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