Thursday, September 4, 2008


The first time I saw a bird anting, the process of lying down on an ant bed which helps the bird clean its wings of parasites, I thought I had found a dead bird, a beautiful blue jay prone on the ground. I froze, flooded with sorrow. This was something I'd never seen. What should I do? Go for help? Prepare a burial site? And then the blue jay moved. Shifted. Looked at me. Waited a bit. Then flew off. Since then I've learned that this is a normal part of bird behavior, wing-cleaning. Each time I come upon this scene I halt. It feels like intruding on privacy, something very lovely, peaceful, personal. And sometimes I witness something awesome, uncommon- the little wren, (held my breath), and the juvenile red-tail hawk. The sparrows "bath" in dust. The others seem to prefer anting.

1 comment:

Momtosweeties said...

What an interesting post! I did not know that birds did this! I will be watching for this now.
It really is amazing what we see when we stop and look around a bit. We recently went through this with our 7yr old daughter. We were in a wooded area and she was bored. Nothing to do but walk and a bunch of trees! (her words not mine! lol) when I asked her to slow down and look hard for things, she found snails, fungus and berries. She was so enrossed that we had to ask her to hurry up :)