Can’t Scratch

The one-legged Marbled Godwit that I photographed on December 26 is still active and feeding in the Schoolhouse Creek mudflats. As the earlier video showed, the injured bird is able to navigate the mud and feed itself despite its handicap. The short video below shows one activity it’s not able to do, and that is to scratch itself. That may not seem like a big thing, but all birds are pestered by mites, lice, and other parasites, and the ability to scratch with the feet is an important survival skill. Unfortunately birds do not seem to preen each other, the way that monkeys do. Its disability will not starve this bird, but it might ultimately succumb to parasite-caused illness.

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