You might think — OK, I might think — that a waterbird doesn’t need a bath. It spends 24/7 in water. Why would it need to take a bath, in the same water, yet? But clearly, that’s wrong. Waterbirds do take baths in the same water where they swim. This female Surf Scoter is only one example. Here she demonstrates her vigorous, energetic, prolonged bathing ritual in the North Basin Cove, very near the east shore of the park. She splashes herself all over, almost submerges, then rises up out of the water and beats her wings. Again and again. I suppose in a way the need is obvious. When she swims, only her lower half is in the water, like the hull of a boat. But the superstructure — the deck, cabin, mast, and sails — stay dry and exposed to the harsh rays of the sun. They need to be flushed and rinsed, as well as scraped and polished. Maintaining a watercraft is endless work. Just ask a bird.
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