Dennis Forsyth writes:
For all birds feather care is a top priority. Whether it is oiling feathers to maintain water-proofing, cleaning feathers to keep insulation ability high or just getting rid of itchy parasites most birds spend a fair amount of time grooming their plumage. For birds that spend a lot of time near salt water, but who are not really pure water birds, like the eagles, shore-birds, gulls, etc, this often means that opportunities to rinse salt off their feathers are not to be missed. Eagles will seek out fresh water sources, like our marshes and lakes, to bathe in during the herring season when they are likely to get themselves wet in the salt water. Others, like many of our fresh-water ducks and shore-birds, will find fresh water outlets in which to occasionally bathe.
Denman Island has a lot of these places along our shorelines where streams or ditches empty into the ocean. These places are particularly good spots to find birds engaging in bathing activities. These Black Oystercatchers were happily having a communal bath in just such a spot near Cable Beach on Denman’s east side a few days ago.