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Name: Ross G.
Status: student
Age: 17
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001


Question:
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?


Replies:
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.

Trudy Wassenaar


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