On the Bathing Habits of Hawks

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On the Bathing Habits of Hawks

The small feeder pond at the head of our garden waterfall is a favourite of many years standing of small birds and acts as a remarkable “magnet” in migration for warblers etc. A passing bid can rarely resist the chance to cool off.

This morning, ‘Arry the Apprentice ‘Awk took it into his head to splash about a bit and sort his feathers out as you can see from the following photographs. After several minutes of this he retreated to his favourite maple branch 15 feet or so above the pond to sort his feathers out until “called for breakfast” by one of his parents.

I unearthed a short note in a journal (Western Birds (1984) 15-1 p.41) titled “Bathing Habits of the Cooper’s Hawk” that you can download from should you be interested in such ornitho-arcana. The author notes that her observed bird only bathed twice a week and typically ” … the hawk took several drinks,then stepped into the water and stood there with the feet and legs partially immersed The time spent standing in the water varied from 15 minutesto 1.5 hours. It would pick up each foo tand carefully clean the scales on the tarsi and toes with its mandibles also giving close attention to the claws

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By |2016-08-09T10:02:51+00:00August 9th, 2016|birding, birds, raptors, Uncategorized|2 Comments


  1. Alan Quantrell 2016-08-09 at 11:02 - Reply

    He looks like his mum ordered him to go take a bath and not to return until he was good and clean 🙂

    • Richard 2016-08-09 at 12:10 - Reply

      … and wash between your toes – properly

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