The day is warm but not hot, and last night's heavy rain has filled the crockery birdbath again. The male cardinal flies in with two attentive stops on the deck railing to survey the territory. He has lost his bright sexy red and is now into the faded color of a harried parent. When he feels safe, he perches on the edge of the birdbath and swishes his face back and forth a few times across the surface to test the temperature. When he is satisfied he plops into the bath and splashes for a few minutes and then perches and shakes in a nearby bush while the female follows him and attends to her ablutions. They are methodical and careful and do not stay long and soon return to their noisy singing in the trees.
The titmouse, on the other hand, flies in with lots of tweets and acrobatics and skids to a crash into the bird bath without caution or fear. She flops and sprays and shakes for quite some time before the male shows up and perches in the nearby lime tree to survey the area. When she has gotten so wet she looks half her size and her little perk at the top of her head is mashed down and she is the color of gray mud, she disappears into the edge of the woods to shake freely before her partner gets his turn. Water ends up everywhere. They are enthusiastic about life and perhaps that is why I sometimes find their feathers in a catastrophic pile in the lawn.