Blowin’ In the Wind

Otis the Great Blue Heron is such a handsome git that I reach for my camera every time he comes within range.

Today the wind was blowing kind of hard, and Otis was so intent on preening he couldn’t see—or didn’t care —that his powder feathers were scattering everywhere!

As longtime Followers know, powder feathers are those long, fringe-like parts of his plumage—feathers that continually fray into strands— they actually serve a vital purpose.

When Otis gets slimed in the course of feeding, he simply massages these chest feathers into the dirt, using his bill and a special toe that’s shaped for combing. The long strands  partially fragment into a powder that acts like a dry shampoo—clinging to the slime and carrying it off. Leftover powder helps protect his underparts from dirt.

When he’s done with the preening, you’ll see he’s back to his handsome self and clean as a whistle. Would you like to see more of Otis this Spring? Let me know with your LIKE and COMMENT!

Blowin’ in the Wind, #2 of 3
#2 in a collection of 3 photographs. As Otis straightens out, he combs his neck as well with his all-purpose bill, powder feathers still flying.
Blowin’ in the Wind #3 of 3
Third in a collection of three photographs. And here he’s all done, all clean and pretty, feathers still Blowin’ in the Wind.

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