I have a ditch that the birds take a bath in often. Sometimes I see doves that look like they are broken, clinging to the side of the grassy rise. Should I be worried? - Portland, MI
Instinct to sunbathe even when already heat-stressed, help the birds maintain feather quality as well as water and dust bathing.
|Photo from Wikimedia Commons|
.However, doves don’t have the preen gland. Instead they grow powder down feathers that grow continuously and never molt. The barbs at the feather tips constantly disintegrate into a fine, talc-like, water-resistant powder. If you’ve ever seen a window strike by a dove, you may have seen a “ghost bird” on the glass. This is actually a tracing of the bird left on the glass by its powder down.
In late summer doves are growing new outer feathers. Like ironing our clothes, the heat of the sun might help make it easier for doves to shape their new feathers. And along with easing discomfort associated with molting, the sun may also help dislodge parasites so the bird can preen them off more easily.
How to Prevent Window Strikes during Migration http://goo.gl/KZRzKb
Types of Bird feathers http://bit.ly/w0U1M6
Why birds molt http://bit.ly/rGaqRL
Why do bluebirds bathe more than cardinals? http://goo.gl/ZdYRS
Birds Don't Sweat: http://goo.gl/zerp7