Mistletoebird Bathing At Argyle

At about 10:40 on 9th September 1996, I saw a Mistletoebird bathing outside my office at the Argyle Diamond mine in the Kimberley.  It was washing itself in a bush about a metre tall that was very wet from the garden sprinklers that had recently been operating.

At first I thought that the sprinklers were still operating, but this was not the case.  I watched the bird for about 5 minutes.  It was rubbing itself against the wet leaves and then fluffing up its feathers and having a good shake.  What first drew my attention was that it was spinning itself upside down under a branch with its wings spread.  It appeared to be shaking drops of water from the leaves onto the underneath of its wings . Often its tail was cocked making it look like a fairy-wren.

The bird appeared to be an adult female.  It continued for about 10 minutes, occasionally being disturbed by a couple of Brown and Grey-fronted Honeyeaters.  Finally, it flew up into an acacia.  It appeared very wet.  It preened itself briefly before flying out of sight.  Two or three Mistletoebirds have been resident outside my office for about the last two years since I first noticed mistletoe growing in the acacias.

Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2002 Visits Last Modified 31st January 2002