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Probably a silly question, but...


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#1 Chaseman

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 10:20 PM

It's hot here in GA, well into the 90's. Over the past few days I have seen birds (blue jays, mourning dove and brown thrasher) do something I find odd. In the afternoon heat, they go the hottest part of my yard and lay belly down with their tails and wings spread. They will lay like that for about 10 minutes (long enough for me to think they are dead) and then get up and go about their business. I'm thinking they are cooling off, but why don't they go in the shade? Here is a pic of the blue jay doing this, with another looking on. Thanks for your input!
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#2 Liam

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:11 PM

Well into the 90's? It's well into the 100's here in Hephzibah!
Birds may do this to ventilate themselves. Opening their feathers allows air to circulate and cool down the bird.

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#3 Chaseman

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:30 PM

Thanks Liam. We too are heading into the 100's the next few days in the NE Metro Atlanta area.

#4 meghann

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:55 PM

This weekend is going to be miserable here in Georgia. It's 8 p.m. and still almost 100 here. yay.

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#5 fisherman1313

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 12:06 AM

They may be "anting". Some birds will lie on ant hills or trails and let the ants crawl over them, the theory is that the ants pick off parasites. Some birds will actually hold an ant in their bill and rub it on the feathers, the formic acid the ants use for defense either kills the parisites or drives them out of the feathers. Another theory suggests that birds also do this in direct sunlight on hot days, the heat from the sun having a similar affect to the acid. There are even reports of birds using lit cigarette butts for the same purpose. The bird holds the butt in its bill and lets the smoke waft over its feathers making the parisites uncomfortable enough that they drop off the bird. I've heard of at least three cases where a bird picked up a butt, flew to a nearby perch and then eventually dropped the butt, starting a fire.

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#6 Chaseman

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 12:43 AM

Fisherman1313, that is some interesting info. Thanks for sharing. If it's the sunlight doing it, I imagine my yard will be plastered with birds the next few days!

#7 Pat B.

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 03:34 AM

When it's really hot (like now), some of my yardbirds just stand around with their bills open. Black-billed Magpies and Western Scrub Jays do this & probably others.

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#8 Totah Sam

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 03:02 AM

When it's really hot (like now), some of my yardbirds just stand around with their bills open. Black-billed Magpies and Western Scrub Jays do this & probably others.


I was standing around with my billfold open today. My AC went out on my car. $803.00 to fix. oy vey!
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#9 Liam

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 03:42 AM

This weekend is going to be miserable here in Georgia. It's 8 p.m. and still almost 100 here. yay.


Meghann, did you see this? It was 112F in Columbia.


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#10 Chaseman

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 09:22 PM

Well into the 90's? It's well into the 100's here in Hephzibah!
Birds may do this to ventilate themselves. Opening their feathers allows air to circulate and cool down the bird.


So, it's 106 here today. My hummingbird just stopped by, and I think he burned his throat on the nectar. I keep dumping ice cubes in the bird bath, but can't help him. Liam, how is it going South of here?

#11 meghann

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 10:01 PM

I think in mine and Liam's area it officially topped out at 106 today, too. Earlier this week they said it would be down to 100 tomorrow, but now they're saying 105. I am beyond ready for that front to get here! When it's 97 on Monday it's going to feel downright pleasant!

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#12 Aveschapines

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 05:17 AM

You guys need to send your birdies back down here! It never gets much above 80°, and is always cold enough to need several blankets at night. I keep several birdbaths on my patio and they get constant visits, even now during the rainy season!

I often see vultures holding their wings out from a high perch, but I've never seen birds lay out on the ground like is described here (except when bathing; they do all kinds of acrobatics then!)

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