Chris Presland wrote:
> Gday Birders
> 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 energy.
> 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
> 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
> Toolijooa NSW
> We also saw our first flock of Needletails 80 - 100 plus
This sounds absolutely typical for sunbathing birds - I've seen it in
Blackbirds, Starlings and Bell Miners, and quite a few others. They
often look quite drunk on it.
Anthea Fleming in Melbourne