Markus Varesvuo - Preening
Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis)
The importance of preening cannot be overstated. Grooming the feathers, and spreading an oily substance from a gland at the base of the tail, helps to re-align the feathers, remove parasites and lice, and keep the bird looking its best. Preening is an everyday task; many birds preen several times a day. A healty coat is the best insurance a bird has against life’s hazards; well-kept feathers keep it warm and dry, not to mention airborne.
Sometimes they have to be quite acrobatic to treat each feather. A Long-tailed Duck has to strech a good bit to preen those long tail feathers.
Not all birds have a preen gland; some produce powder down, but that’s another story.
Location: Båtsfjord, Norway
Tags: arctic duck, bird photography, birds, markus varesvuo, preening, sea bird, wildlife photography