Have you ever seen wrens or sparrows creating miniature dust storms? They love to squat in loose, fine soil and fluff their feathers furiously. It looks like fun, but dust bathing also cleanses and helps control external parasites like fleas, mites, and lice.
You can make a backyard dusting spot with a circle of sandy soil about half a metre across. Either loosen the soil of an existing patch, or establish a new one in a sunny corner of your backyard. In cities and suburbs where natural dusting spots are scarce, birds will especially appreciate a good backyard dust bath!