Saturday, July 3, 2021

House Sparrow Dust Bathing

House Sparrows are no birder’s favorite bird. They are an invasive bird first introduced to North America from Eurasia in 1851. Subsequent releases have resulted in this sparrow’s being found nearly worldwide. We photographed this male House Sparrow during our visit to Port Townsend, Washington, on 24 June 2021. This bird is dust bathing, a common maintenance behavior among birds. Dusting is presumed by many ornithologists to control feather parasites. No scientific evidence supports this hypothesis. Evidence does exist, however, that shows dusting keeps plumage lipids, like preening oil, from coagulating on feathers. Feathers on birds prevented from dusting become oily and matted ( 

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