Title

Bathing Behavior of Nesting Prairie Falcons (Falco mexicanus) in Southwestern Idaho

Document Type

NCA Publications/Journals & Book Chapters

Publication Date

3-1-1987

Journal Title/Publication Source

The Wilson Bulletin

Volume

99

Issue Number

1

Page Numbers

135-136

Abstract

During 1984 and 1985 we observed 24 Prairie Falcon pairs nesting in the Snake River Birds of Prey Area (BOPA), in southwestern Idaho, from egg laying and incubation through brood rearing until the chicks were 35 days of age (a total of about 4400 h of observation). During this period we recorded 34 dustbaths: 4 were taken by males (3 different individuals) and 30 by females (8 different individuals). All dustbaths were taken on sections of cliffs where a layer of sandstone was exposed and a ledge was available. The falcons landed on these ledges and shuffled on their abdomens through the fine sand with the body feathers fluffed out and their wing and tail feathers partly extended. Dustbathing birds frequently made dipping motions with their heads and bodies. Dustbathing was followed by extensive preening of breast, wing, and tail feathers, and, finally, by shaking of the entire body. Dustbathing averaged 4.7 ± 5.7 min [SD] (range = 1-13 min, N = 4) for males and 2.1 ± 1.6 min (range = l-6 min, N = 30) for females. Three incubating females took up to 3 dustbaths a day. The aerie of one incubating female who took regular dust baths in 1984 was heavily infested with swallow bedbugs (Oeciacus vicarius). The aerie was a large cave, and the chicks (4 of which fledged) probably were able to move away from the source of infestation.

Comments

https://www.jstor.org/stable/4162359

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Bathing Behavior of Nesting Prairie Falcons (Falco mexicanus) in Southwestern Idaho

During 1984 and 1985 we observed 24 Prairie Falcon pairs nesting in the Snake River Birds of Prey Area (BOPA), in southwestern Idaho, from egg laying and incubation through brood rearing until the chicks were 35 days of age (a total of about 4400 h of observation). During this period we recorded 34 dustbaths: 4 were taken by males (3 different individuals) and 30 by females (8 different individuals). All dustbaths were taken on sections of cliffs where a layer of sandstone was exposed and a ledge was available. The falcons landed on these ledges and shuffled on their abdomens through the fine sand with the body feathers fluffed out and their wing and tail feathers partly extended. Dustbathing birds frequently made dipping motions with their heads and bodies. Dustbathing was followed by extensive preening of breast, wing, and tail feathers, and, finally, by shaking of the entire body. Dustbathing averaged 4.7 ± 5.7 min [SD] (range = 1-13 min, N = 4) for males and 2.1 ± 1.6 min (range = l-6 min, N = 30) for females. Three incubating females took up to 3 dustbaths a day. The aerie of one incubating female who took regular dust baths in 1984 was heavily infested with swallow bedbugs (Oeciacus vicarius). The aerie was a large cave, and the chicks (4 of which fledged) probably were able to move away from the source of infestation.