May 21 2009

Question: Why is this bird face down on her nest?

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Peregrine falcon sunbathing at her nest (photo from National Aviary webcam)

Question:  Why is this peregrine falcon lying face down on her nest?

Answer:  She’s sunbathing.

Many birds sunbathe including robins and mourning doves.  There are various theories as to why they do it – perhaps to eradicate parasites, perhaps to straighten their feathers, perhaps to spread the preening oil in their feathers.

They also might do it because it feels good.   “Ahhhh.”

See Chuck Tague’s blog here for more information on sunbathing (even swallows sunbathe).

(photo from the National Aviary webcam at the University of Pittsburgh)

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Question: Why is this bird face down on her nest?”

  1. Mary Ann Pikeon 22 May 2009 at 11:17 am

    We once came home to find a raven (we think) sunbathing on the roof of our house…we have a section that slopes down fairly steeply over our living room and ends about 8 feet above ground, so we could see the bird really well. It was very strange to see it spread out like that on the roof (it was pretty big).

  2. Tayloron 13 Jul 2009 at 2:13 pm

    I freaked out when I found a dove lying like that in my yard. I cried for a while. Then I came here to look it up. Thanks for whoever answered this question. I just saw it get up and fly away. That makes me feel better.

  3. robinon 29 Sep 2009 at 1:05 am

    Like humans and many other animals, birds get vitamin D from sunlight.
    Spreading out their wings gives more surface area and more vitamin D, though sometimes their poses are disconcerting to see. :)

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