Often times when photographing birds one never knows what is going to happen. Recently while visiting La Salle Park in Burlington Ontario I observed something I had not witnessed before – swan bathing upside down.
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We’ve all seen birds bathing before. They typically fluff up their feathers while in the water and beat their wings furiously sending water splashing up over themselves. This is often followed by vigorous wing flapping. I had observed swans exhibiting this same type of behaviour in the past.
What I had never seen before was a swan rolling over onto its back, sticking its head and neck completely under the water, then rotating its legs up in the air as if riding an invisible bicycle.
It was somewhat comical watching their large, webbed fleet paddling up in the air. After a few seconds the various birds would roll over in the water.
They would continue with their bathing ritual by smacking the surface of the water with their wings, then rising up out of the water by beating their wings rapidly.
This is likely quite common swan bathing behaviour, but something I had not witnessed in the past. It was unusually warm for a Canadian February afternoon with the temperature at a record-setting level of about 16 Celsius which may help to explain their behaviour.
Regardless of the cause, I was thrilled to have been treated to this visual display.
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