do birds of prey drink water

Logan the Peregrine taking a bath

The Peregrine starts his bath cautiously, slowly, and constantly checking to make sure his surroundings are safe.

When a bird starts to fly properly, it works hard to wet all of its feathers, soaking them completely from top to tail! Because birds’ bones are hollow, they are very buoyant and cannot simply “dunk” and stay down, which is why you will see Logan rocking back and forth and bobbing in and out of the water so much!

And finally, Logan begins the process of drying. The tierel Peregrine spreads his wings and beats them quickly in the warm spring sunshine, shaking off any extra water first. As he dries, he moves around to spy, being cautious to keep an eye on his surroundings and make sure there’s nothing dangerous overhead.

How do birds of prey clean their feathers?

First, there’s the daily preening process, which is akin to using Bryll cream and a comb to realign the feathers by swiping oil from the preen gland (uropygial gland), which is located at the bird’s tail. You will notice the bird twist around to gather some oil on his beak before lifting a feather and firmly sliding it through his beak to coat it in the oil.

And lastly, nothing beats a good old splash around in the water!

A bird bathes to moisten its feathers and release debris, which facilitates preening. Even though you’ve probably seen garden birds taking baths in water or dust, you’d never typically be able to witness raptors bathing in the wild because the risks are too great!

Why do birds of prey bathe?

All birds, not only raptors, enjoy taking baths because it helps to maintain their feathers. Of course, having feathers is the most essential aspect of being a bird. Feathers not only allow birds to fly, but they also insulate them (did you know that scientists thought that the main purpose of feathers was to keep animals warm? We’ll talk more about feathers in a different post; they’re fascinating!). Additionally, the amount of waterproofing that feathers provide varies depending on the species.

The moult is the term for the process by which birds replace their feathers once or twice a year. However, all birds must put in a lot of effort to maintain healthy feathers in between this yearly or biannual renewal so they can hunt, avoid, and flee.

A bird of prey’s feathers can be impacted by the weather, insects, bacteria, sporadic bumps, and even poor health. Any damage must be fixed as soon as possible to ensure the bird of prey stays healthy enough to hunt.


Do Hawks drink water?

Hawks get most of the water that they need from eating their prey, though hawks are sometimes observed drinking water.

Do falcons drink water?

The adult birds usually don’t drink either. Like their chicks, they absorb the water they need from their preys’ fresh meat. Nevertheless you can sometimes see falcons drink, for example in extremely hot weather conditions or when they are migrating, because then their body requires extra energy.

Why don t you give raptors water?

A frightened bird can breathe in or aspirate liquids, so do not try to give it water.