Feathers are such critical components of a bird’s flight, insulation and general survival, it’s no surprise they have meticulous spa routines. The bathing helps remove dirt and parasites, the preening helps reset the feather barbs. Most birds also coat the feathers with protective oil from the uropygial gland.
We came upon a small family of geese, churning up the lake like wave machines. I love photographing birds in their bathing rituals. There’s the beaded texture of water and the predictable motion of wings and bodies. But more than that, animals seem to genuinely enjoy their baths. So, when I capture images during these unguarded moments, I feel a bit more connected in an activity where stealth is the norm.
Well, as connected as I can be . . . behind my tele glass. Which, I’m sure, is just fine with the birds.