About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Why are the Robins Attracted to Water?

Bathing Behavior of the American Robin
Why do the American Robins, Eastern Bluebirds and other birds in the thrush family all seem to frolic in the water more than other backyard birds?

They may bathe more than most birds, about twice daily, to remove excessive oil from their feathers. Fluffy feathers provide proper insulation against bitter winds. Too much oil on the feathers can cause the feathers clump and lower the body temperature to dangerous levels.

Bathing also helps keep ectoparasites off of Robins. Ectoparasites or external hitchhikers include microscopic feather mites, flat hippoboscid flies that bite, or visible ticks.

Water is a powerful attractor and will increase the number and variety of birds coming to your yard. I have a running stream that the birds like to use. However as the winter weather blows through mid-Michigan the birds will start looking for any open water. Having heated birdbaths or adding a heater to the bath you already have set up would be ideal for helping birds during the winter.

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