Flying nonstop for almost a day across the salt water of the Gulf of Mexico makes migratory birds thirsty and ready for a cleansing bath before preparing for the next leg of their journey. The fresh water drip and bathing pool setup at our Alan Murphy photography workshop on Galveston Island was the perfect lure for some of the beauties that stopped by.
For example, this is the kind of shot you might get focusing on a bird that landed on the branch that leads down to the upper left corner of the bath.
some of the action we saw…
You would think that if feathers can get this wet and disarranged by bathing, birds would be vulnerable to rain storms, and flight would be compromised. But this doesn’t usually happen, because when birds preen their feathers to reshape them after they bathe, they apply a waxy coating obtained from the preen gland at the base of their tail. So when a resident Great-tailed Grackle gets in the bird bath, water beads off the surface of its feathers.