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Why do birds sand bathe?

  1. Jul 6, 2008 #1

    DaveC426913

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    I often see sparrows and house finches flutter about in sand or fine gravel. Obviously, they are trying to get it into their feathers. Why?
     
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  3. Jul 6, 2008 #2

    Monique

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    To get rid of parasites.
     
  4. Jul 6, 2008 #3

    DaveC426913

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    That was one of my thoughts, yes. But how?
     
  5. Jul 6, 2008 #4

    Evo

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    I guess it knocks them off. I have heard that it is to get rid of parasites also.
     
  6. Jul 6, 2008 #5

    turbo

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    Many birds have an oily substance on their feathers that sheds water, so dust can be a better cleaner than water in some instances. It can also help remove excess oil build-up and re-align barbules so that the feathers stay sleek and efficient.
     
  7. Jul 6, 2008 #6

    Astronuc

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    As Monique mentioned, it is to get rid of parasites - fleas, lice (feather louse), ticks and mites.

    http://www.wbu.com/edu/dusting.htm

    http://www.birdcare.com/bin/showdict?dustbathing


    I've watched rabbits doing the samething in the blackberry patch. They lie on the backs and roll, or on their sides and push themselves along the ground.
     
  8. Jul 6, 2008 #7

    Monique

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    There are dolphins that do the same thing, they strand themselves and roll around in the sand, quite unusual.

    The mechanism, mechanical. It knocks off the parasites and their eggs.

    Human desert tribes also wash their hair, body and clothes with sand and coal left over from a campfire, it seems to do its job (although you are not left sparkling clean).
     
  9. Jul 6, 2008 #8

    Astronuc

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    Some animals do it with mud, which is then dried and rubbed off. I think some peoples do the same thing.
     
  10. Jul 6, 2008 #9

    turbo

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    Some birds also employ ants to fight parasites, much as elephants encourage birds to groom them to remove parasites. Birds can be miserable when ridden with parasites. I have taken down a recently-vacated phoebe nest, and found my arms and hands swarming with bird-mites.
     
  11. Jul 17, 2008 #10
    My dog seems to enjoy rolling around in wood chips, maybe this is similiar?
     
  12. Jul 17, 2008 #11

    Mk

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    I enjoy rolling around in money, maybe that's similar?
     
  13. Jul 17, 2008 #12

    DaveC426913

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    Unfortunately, rather than dislodigng parasites, that tends to attract them. :biggrin:
     
  14. Jul 17, 2008 #13

    Math Is Hard

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    :rofl:
    Excellent point!
     
  15. Jul 17, 2008 #14

    turbo

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    If you want to roll in money, you must do it privately. Posing for a lottery-payoff with an oversized pretend check will haul in the bloodsuckersj.
     
  16. Jul 17, 2008 #15

    DaveC426913

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    Done!
    http://www./davesbrain.ca/miscpix/blogpix/cash.jpg
    Three years ago next Wednesday.

    (Warning: potential retinal scarring. Wear your Joo Janta 200 SCPSS's)
     
  17. Jul 18, 2008 #16

    Math Is Hard

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    Ravens "snow bathe":

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
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