To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Sunning
From: "Robyn" <>
Date: Sat, 17 Jan 2009 11:09:01 +1000
Yesterday must have been the perfect day for birds to sun themselves here in 
Maroochydore SEQ.   I took my mid-morning coffee out to my back deck to do some 
Cryptics, but very little was answered.

Firstly, the male and female Koels stretched out until they were panting.   The 
female then departed into a tall Callistemon, but the male kept coming and 
going for some time.   Next, one of the Grey Butcherbirds lay down, and a Crest 
Pigeon promptly positioned itself on the GB's tail, stretched its wing in 
typical fashion so that the GB was covered up.   It moved back to the sun, and 
another CP positioned itself near its head.   This was all taking place on an 
area of fine wood-chip, and meanwhile 3 more CP's were sunning on the lawn 
nearby.   They were the only ones which ever used the grass - all other birds 
were on the wood-chip.   The GB left and the Noisy Miners moved in.   They flew 
in very purposefully, did a swift 360 degree turn, then snuggled down into the 
chips.   These two kept coming and going for at least twenty minutes, almost 
invariably doing their circular routine and shuffling into the chips.   One 
female figbird turned up, but never really settled.   One Blue-faced Honeyeater 
joined in, but not on the ground.   It landed on top of a large coolite box 
(planted with veges), and turned upside down and inside out.   Its head almost 
touched the ground and its wings hung back and open, so that its vent pointed 
at the sun.   Two Rainbow Lorikeets landed, considered the scene, but did not 
join in.  The show kept going, with adult and juvenile GBs coming and going, 
and finally a juvenile Magpie-Lark joined them.   Most birds would sun a while, 
then land on a branch and preen a while, and then return to sunning.

I watched for over an hour, and at one stage, five different species were all 
on the ground at once, though the crow stayed a distance from the others.   I 
was absolutely fascinated.   It is always a popular spot for sunning, but I 
have never seen so many birds of different species all at once.   The differing 
behaviours and methods of sunning was really interesting.   The Koels, Crow, 
Noisy Miners, and Grey Butcherbirds positioned flat on the stomach with wings 
stretched into a cross.   The Crested Pigeons, and sometimes the GBs, lay on 
one side and stretched one wing backwards to the ground.   The Figbird looked 
as though it may prefer this method, but I think it was copying without ever 
making it.   The juvenile Magpie-lark did a little of flat on the stomach, and 
a little of underwing sunning.  The Blue-faced Honeyeater of course had its own 
individual hanging position.

It was wonderful entertainment.


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