Snowy Egret Feather Shake (Photo of the week)

A snowy egret shakes back and forth, rufflings its feathers.

This week’s photo is a snowy egret just after shaking his body to resettle its feathers. He had been fishing along the bank of a slough, and the wind kept disturbing his feathers. He shook his body vigorously to fluff all of his feathers, so that they could resettle into a natural insulating layer.

This type of shake will rearrange the micro-structure of a bird’s outer feathers, keeping water from penetrating the inner feathers. Usually a resettling of the feathers if followed by preening and a little oiling (if the bird has a preen gland). This egret didn’t bother preening at this time, as he seemed very focused on catching dinner.