White-faced Ibis bathing

by | Aug 2, 2019

One spring I was exploring Merced National Wildlife Refuge to see who was still around. The geese and cranes were long gone, some of the ponds were being drained for the summer, but there were still a good number of birds that call it home.

I ran across this Ibis feeding in shallow water in one pond and stopped to watch, and then it decided to take a bath. Birds bathe at part of the maintenance of the feathers, it adds moisture and helps remove dirt and parasites. Shorebirds like the Ibis do it by dunking themselves into the water and then flapping and shaking and generally spraying everything nearby.

I love this shot not because it’s the sharpest image of an Ibis I’ve taken (it’s not), but because what it’s really showing is the act of bathing and the motion and energy involved in that. And because watching the Ibis take this bath, it really seemed they were just plain old having a fun time.