It's a New Day

October 2020

Vol. 48, No. 5

Group Bathing by Shorebirds, Gulls, and Terns

William E. Davis, Jr.

Figure 1. Sanderlings and Ruddy Turnstones bathing. All photographs by the author.

I spent all of March and most of April 2020 in an oceanfront house on Big Pine Key in Florida, where I had ample opportunity to watch and photograph shorebirds, gulls, and terns on the tidal flats, in the beach wrack, and on our long dock, recording their behavior in my journal. In the past I had witnessed Ruddy Turnstones (Arenaria interpres) and Sanderlings (Calidris alba) bathe synchronously in small groups and in small parts of large groups (Davis 2016) but I have not seen nor read reports of group bathing behavior of the magnitude I witnessed in Florida this year for any shorebirds. Gulls and terns were frequent group bathers as well. The reports that follow are taken from my journal notes.

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