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Bath bullies, bacteria and battlegrounds: the secret world of bird baths

Bird baths are a familiar sight in Australian gardens but surprisingly little is known about the precise role they play in the lives of birds.

In a dry continent such as Australia, bird baths may be vital to supporting an otherwise stressed bird population. We wanted to find out more, so we enlisted the help of thousands of citizen scientists across Australia to gather as much data as we could on how birds use bird baths.

And so the Bathing Birds Study was born. Started by researchers at Deakin University and Griffith University in 2014, this study involved collecting data online from 2,500 citizen scientists on bathing birds all over Australia.

The study has revealed so far that bird baths are much more than just ornamental splash pools for feathered visitors. They’re also a site where animals socialise and intense rivalries play out. Human choices – such as the design of the bird bath, where it is located and how often it is cleaned – can have a big impact on birds.

Read the full story at The Conversation website.

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