Yesterday we observed some strange behaviour by a group of Dollarbirds that
some of you might be interested in. Well, we have never seen this in our 18
months of birding.
We were driving along a sandy dirt track in open woodland behind Gerroa on the
NSW South Coast.
We had observed serveral dollarbirds prior to this, and for the middle of of a
hot day, 11am, they were very active and noisy - I guess it is breeding season.
But as we were driving down the track we observed a couple of birds fly up from
the ground further ahead, and two strange shapes on the middle of the road.
On close observation, they turned out to be dollarbirds, laying out in full sun
on a sandy part of the track, belly down and with wings spread over the sand.
They were just lying there, and after they had checked us out and relaxed a
bit, their heads rolled back and the opened their bill and appeared to be
panting. They looked very relaxed and the sun seemed to be draining their
The two other birds returned and indulged in the same behaviour - to the best
of our knowledge they were sunbaking.
After this we drove on further and when we returned to the same spot there were
six dollarbirds lying in the sand. There was also a Noisy Miner doing the same
thing, with another couple of dollarbirds in the tree.
We got great views of these fantastic birds and only wished we had the camera,
because we have never been this close to dollarbirds, 7 - 8 metres, nor had we
ever seen them in these numbers.
We are keen to know if this behaviour is relatively common and if they were
just sunbaking like us humans do.
Chris & Heidi Presland
We also saw our first flock of Needletails 80 - 100 plus