Bathe and Graze

Top Photo: Adult robin attempts to coax one of its offspring (left) to bathe in the water below waterfall at Red Wolf Enclosure.

There are numerous bird families flying and foraging about our campus. Fledglings need to learn to cope with life before they go out on their own and the adults are doing their best to show them how. Finding food, bird song, and even bathing are all on the list.

I came upon a group of American robins at the waterfall in the wolf enclosure giving their fledglings a lesson in taking a bath.

Two adult robins try to coax fledgling down into water.
Lead by example.
Down to the water’s edge, but that’s it.

The reluctant young robin never did hop in while I stood and watched, perhaps next time. They have all summer to learn.

The algae bloom that was so brightly green on our wetland last week is now brown and percolating. The resident yellow-bellied sliders are grazing on the brown goop.

Algal bloom of last week.
A bubbly film of brown plankton this week.
Grazing yellow-bellied sliders.

While it doesn’t look appetizing to us, I see sliders grazing on this plankton each year at this time. These aquatic turtles seem to have a wide taste in food. I’ve seen them graze on grass at the edge of the pond, hunt and eat fish, take chunks from a dead raccoon, consume all manner of aquatic plants, and of course, lap up algae from the water’s surface. I’d be willing to wager they’d try anything that dropped into their watery domain.

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