Dusting behaviour in birds– this Wren was recently displaying typical behaviour for Wrens following wetting it’s feathers in a pond. It took about quarter of an hour to thoroughly dust bath in a hollow. The Wren spread its wings, wriggled, ruffled all its feathers, and even disturbed dust into the air, so that every feather was dusted, preened and dried and the dust reached the skin. This is called ‘maintenance behaviour’, maintaining feather and skin health and cleanliness as well as using dust for its anti-parasitic properties. It also meant it stayed in one place long enough for lots of photos, whereas Wrens are often so quick and secretive in their movements they are a job to photograph! Conditions: Showers. Temperature: Max 13 Min 9c.
A male Wren has been singing its heart out from dawn till dusk, in the garden, and as the most common UK breeding bird, chances are there is one near you, too, so, if you don’t know it, it is a great time to learn its powerful, long song (RSPB website to hear it). Unlike most birds, they make several nests. They sing to hold a territory and to attract a female, which the male will then show round its nests. With luck, she will choose one and they will breed. Sometimes the male will also attract another female to one of its other nests, when it will be even busier tending to both. Conditions: Showers and sunny spells. Temperature: Max 12 Min 5 C.
‘Sunning; Wren- the bird most frequently ‘sunning’ in our garden, and anywhere, is the Blackbird. Yesterday and today the Dunnock, Blackbirds, Robins and this Wren were sunning- spreading their wings and tail feathers, fluffing up their soft, downy body and head feathers, deliberately positioned to get maximum sun onto them. There are many theories about why birds ‘sun’ but one reason seems to be to control their body temperature, since birds can’t perspire. This Wren was in and out of sun and shade, and was also gaping with its bill to cool itself. Another is thought to be to stimulate the oil from its preen-gland, on the base of a birds’ back- seen in one photo of the Wren- the oil is used to condition and waterproof feathers. Sunning
is also thought to activate mites and parasites so they are more easily cleaned off by preening. Conditions: Hot, sunny with a breeze. Temperature: Max 23- Min 14C.