Sunday, September 27, 2015

Birds Playing in Pools

In a short time, these American Robins knocked almost all of the water out of the pool.

Loud and boisterous, Blue Jays can be the pool bullies.
A few years ago I wrote a blog about attracting birds to your yard by using water.  To this day, it remains one of my most popular posts.  I think that's because we love seeing birds just outside our windows, and we really love seeing birds playing in water.  I know I do, and for several reasons.  First, it's fun!  Birds playing in pools of water are about as cute as anything in nature.  They're funny, and I can watch them for hours - leaving all of the world's cares behind.  Second, they're right in front of me!  There's no warbler neck from staring up into the canopy.  And they're right outside the window; I don't have to go anywhere to see them.  And finally, and this is an important one for serious birders, the birds can be studied for a long time with an unobstructed view.  This often results in seeing things that are rarely seen in the field.  I first realized this by accident.  My birding partner and I like to practice using our cameras by sitting outside quietly, waiting for birds to come to a birdbath or drip pool, and snapping away.  The photos revealed little things that are hard to see in the field like the red in the eye of a Red-eyed Vireo or the orange in the crown of an Orange-crowned Warbler. 

With all of that said, the truth is that the photos of birds playing in pools are just fun to look at.  So I've decided to do a blog series that is really an excuse for publishing some wonderful photos with very little commentary from me.  I'll do about one of them a month until I run out of photos.  I hope you enjoy them.  This month I'm focusing on the typical backyard birds any of us might see in and around our yards.

Some birds prefer to play in a mist of water rather than get into the pool.  This Carolina Wren got really close to the nozzle and soaked up the cooling mist on a hot day.  Look at the beads of water all over his little body.

Other birds prefer to wallow in the pool, spending a long time in a leisurely bath.  Northern Cardinals are among the most prominent birds in eastern backyards, and they love the water.

Normally, Brown Thrashers look fearsome and severe, but this one is just cute!  Living up to his name, he thrashed around in the little puddle until he was a complete ball of fuzz. 

The buffy colored feathers on the sides of the Tufted Titmouse below suggest that this is a mature bird.  Mature or not, it looks like he enjoys a good soaking.

Carolina Chickadees really like the water.  Occasionally they take a shower in a fine mist.  And this little one apparently enjoys singing in the shower -- but then again, don't we all?

Other Chickadees prefer a good dip in the pool.  And why not?  It gets really hot in Florida.

I think this was couples day at the spa.

I think it was "Boys' Swim" time at the pool when this was taken.  The belly of a male Cardinal can be seen in the upper left hand corner, hanging out with this handsome looking male House Finch.  Do you think they were comparing shades of red?

I think the Northern Parula is a beautiful bird, but when seen in the field, they are always moving in and out of the foliage above me.  As a result, it's rare to get an opportunity to appreciate just how striking they are. 

"Hey, aren't you gonna take my picture, too?"  This Red-eyed Vireo seemed to mug it up for the camera while taking an extended shower.

Come back in a few weeks for another dozen photos of birds playing in the pool.  Next month: Warblers!