Moments: Bathing with a Friend

Among the residents at Serendip Sanctuary are seveal pairs of Emus.
We were walking toward the nesting Cape Barren Geese when we spotted a pair moving in the scrub behind the track.  A quick peek around the tree-line and we managed to get a view of them bathing.

The recent rains had filled  up a substantial puddle of water, not enough to dampen more than the ankles of an emu, but none-the-less, this enterprising pair decided that by squatting down, wrapping the long legs around, it was possible to get most of the body into the water.   No doubt in the wild, they’d just wade into a creek, river, dam and not have to go through the ungainly procedure.

It took each of them several goes to find the deepest spot and then flop down for a good soak. The amount of water they were able to shake off was pretty impressive.

And for all those who’ve been conned by the “Oh, you need to keep your birdbath pristine clean for the health of the birds…. blah blah…”  Take a look at the colour of the syrup running of these dudes.


11 thoughts on “Moments: Bathing with a Friend

  1. A fabulous series of shots, David! I can’t remember having seen Emus bathing. As to keeping the bird bath clean, when I clean ours no birds come for a while!

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    1. Have to say as a lad of the country plains, I can’t ever recall seeing them do anything but dust bathe. The amount of thought neeed to get the big legs folded and the body down was much more a work of art.


    1. Hi Eleanor, they are inside the sanctuary, and no doubt quite relaxed about people wandering around. But I did use my fun lens the 70-200 f/4 which is my usual carry about.


  2. They are marvelous moments, David. Love this cheerful set. And life goes on regardless of the winter weather. Last time my Mom visited she cleaned my birdbath. All the regulars disappeared for about two weeks, probably longer. Never cleaning it again!

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    1. Hello Derek, smiled about the clean bird bath. Its a mantra that like “don’t feed the birds”, makes people feel good to be able to recite it with authority. Problem is in the real world the birds don’t seem that fussed. You’d expect a Mudlark on the side of a track to be happy around a muddy pool, but then wait a few mintutes and all the bush birds will flock in there as well.


    1. Hello Rodger, tis funny!! Not a bird that most of us would encounter on a regular basis these days. You just don’t see them wandereing through the shopping mall, like say pigeons and sparrows that have learned the time cycle on automatic open doors. 🙂


  3. G’day David, thanks for this story and great shots. It has never crossed my mind that emus would take a bath. On the other hand, had I given it a thought, I’d probably expect them to take care of their personal hygiene, because all birds do. I might have imagined them rolling around in sand but never in such muddy waters! It was definitely a very entertaining view.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Adam, I once saw a family walking through the middle of a lake down near Warrnambool, they were nearly up to neck deep. Not bathing, but obviously water doesn’t present a problem. I have seen them dust bathing in the sand dune of eastern NSW, where standing water would be a rarity.
      I presume the sand and grit must help in the preening out of rubbish from the feathers, acting a bit like washing up scratchy cloth. I’ve no idea what they are called:-) !!!


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