Name: Ross G.
In hot weather I often see the
non-native blackbird from Europe [I don't know its scientific name]
'sitting' on the short grass on the lawn , close the ground with its wings splayed
out and often with its beak open. At first I thoought it might be heat
control, but there is water available and I have never seen them doing
this in the shade where it is cooler; it is always in the full sunlight.
Is it perhaps parasite control?
The pose you're describing is explained to me as
sunbathing. Birds have to get sunlight for their
vitamins too. I've been told that the vitamins are
formed by UV light in the fat of their feathers, and
when they clean themselves they ingest the vitamins
with the fat. I've even noticed caged birds sunbathing
behind glass. They must do it instinctly, or do they
really enjoy it? I believe so.
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Update: June 2012