Although the birds in my yard visit my birdbaths on a regular basis throughout the entire year, activity around these artificial ponds has definitely increased as of late. For example, in a little over an hour one afternoon this week I watched, a northern mockingbird, common grackles, American robins, brown thrashers, and orchard orioles visited the birdbath outside my home office.
While a couple of the birds that showed up drank, most were intent solely on bathing. If you have never seen wild birds bathe, you have missed a real treat.
Each bird would hop into the deepest water (only about two inches deep) and began rapidly flapping its wings. I suspect they also shook their bodies, but I cannot say for sure that was the case. What I do know is that while bathing, each bird had water flying everywhere. They would then suddenly stop, look around and repeat the process several times. Finally, when they finished they laboriously flew to nearby trees and shrubs on water-soaked wings to shake off the water and preen.
Interestingly, all but one of the visitors bathed alone. However, at other times I have seen more than one bird bathe at the same time.
When the last bather left, the birdbath was almost empty and the ground within a three to four foot circle around the bath was soaking wet.
Their departure left me with the task of refilling the birdbath, and fond memories of what I had witnessed.