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      Nature Report: Bathing Birds

      Sooner or later everybody comes to water.

      Sometimes it's just for a tentative sip, and on other occasions, it's a full blown bath. Quail rarely lower their guard enough to bathe, and brief sips suffice between nervous looks. White-tipped doves are usually very wary, but this bird simply can't refrain from a long satisfying drink and doesn't even bother casting any furtive glances. The timid mourning dove is not satisfied with a mere drink and can't resist the temptation to wet its feathers in the cooling water. The male pyrrhuloxia takes it a step further and engages in some vigorous splashing before flitting away. The scissor-tailed flycatcher is usually content to slack its thirst from the bank.

      However, the acrobatic flyer sometimes swoops down for a refreshing splash, and once it gets started, a single dip is rarely enough. And then there are the anis.

      They apparently practice the buddy system, while as one bathes, another keeps watch from the shore.

      For several minutes, the prehistoric looking birds with the thick parrot like bills take turns indulging in brief inundations. Nobody is a more enthusiastic bather than the colorful painted bunting, but being so brilliantly hued, they employ extra vigilance before approaching the waters edge.

      However, once they deem it safe to take the plunge, a thorough dousing commences.