Comical ablutions

This week’s first image breaks the cardinal rule of bird photography – ensuring that the eye is perfectly focused.

 

Grey Fantail - Kim Wormald

Grey Fantail – the after bath head shake
Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 400, focal length 400mm

 

Birds seem to follow a set procedure after bathing. Even with a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second the fantail above was moving its head too quickly to freeze the action. I like the ‘star-trail’ spray of water droplets.

 

Grey Fantail - Kim Wormald

 Grey Fantail – the after bath body shake
Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 400, focal length 400mm

 

After the head shake comes the body shake. 1/500th of a second was fine for keeping the front of the bird focused but the booty wiggle was moving the other end way too fast.

 

Grey Fantail - Kim WormaldGrey Fantail – after bath preening
Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/640, f5.6, ISO 250, focal length 400mm

 

Following the head shake and body shake comes the careful preening of feathers. During preening a bird can assume some comical positions as it uses its bill to remove dust, dirt and parasites, and ensure that its feathers are properly arranged. Most birds spread oil, from a gland near the base of the tail, to keep their feathers supple and waterproof. Other birds, including parrots, herons and some raptors, use powder down to keep their feathers in good condition. The powder comes from special feathers which disintegrate as they grow.

 

Grey Fantail - Kim WormaldGrey Fantail
Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 320, focal length 400mm

 

After preening birds ruffle everything back into place – I love the ‘fluffy’ look.

 

Grey Fantail - Kim WormaldGrey Fantail
Canon 7D, 100-400mm, L IS USM, 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 320, focal length 400mm

 

And after all that busy abluting they deserve a little rest. Well it looks as though it’s resting but really it was doing the next thing on it’s personal care list and cleaning its bill on the branch, first one side and then the other.

This has been an exciting week and hopefully my next post will include improved images taken using a new piece of equipment!

Happy birding, Kim

 

 

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