Anting is a curious
phenomenon that is not totally understood. Many
species of songbirds have been observed picking up
ants and rubbing the ants on their feathers.
Occasionally birds will spread themselves out on an
anthill and move around to encourage the ants to
crawl onto their feathers.
No ones knows for
sure why anting occurs. The most accepted
proposition is that the secretions the ants might
use for stinging, when applied to feathers, might
serve as an insecticide, fungicide or bacteriaside.
Others suggest that the ant fluids might supplement
the birds own preening oils.
There remains much
to learn about anting. If you are fortunate enough
to observe this behavior you might wish to take
detailed notes and report your sightings to a local
ornithologist or to Birdzilla.com.
We'll send your report on to interested