Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vulnerable

We came across this sunbathing blackbird yesterday at Smardale Gill NNR in Cumbria, where it was in a trance-like state with wings and tail fanned out. This is the moment when it realised we were there and struggled to its feet, brain still befuddled by the heat, wings drooping, feathers still fluffed out. If I'd wanted to I could have reached out and grabbed it. There must be a serious purpose for birds sunbathing like this, as it leaves them very vulnerable to predators. Using the sun's heat and UV to reduce feather parasite load is supposed to be the reason why they do it.

This young rabbit was vulnerable too, apparently believing that it was covered in a furry invisibility cloak as it peered at us through the grasses without making any effort to run.

10 comments:

  1. That's something I've seen a lot of Blackbirds do this time of year Phil, when it's sunny. Magpies are another that seem to do it a lot.

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  2. I always assumed it was the young ones who wer just more trusting.

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  3. It does seem a common trait with Blackbirds. Maybe raptors don't notice them when they keep so still.

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  4. The Blackbird did look befuddled, I've not noticed any here doing that but it would make sense that the sun would help to clear parasites.

    I like the Harry Potter rabbit...

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  5. I've also seen the blackbirds doing this on my travels and I've thought they were unwell, I've learnt something new today.

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  6. Hi Keith, I've occasionally seen jays do it, but usually on top of ants' nests

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  7. Hi Adrian, we have some very trusting young blackbirds in our garden at the moment, nicking our raspberries...

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  8. Hi John, I worry about the blackbirds that sunbathe like this on our garden path - easy prey for cats!

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  9. Typical dilemma for siomething edible I guess, toffeeapple - do I run for it or keep still and hope I won't be noticed...

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  10. I wonder whether they suffer from a mild case of sunstroke when they do this, david - they do seem groggy afterwards

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