Sunbathing birds

Sunbathing is a way for many species of birds to kill parasites.

A number of species have decided that a particular spot in my yard is a great place to sunbathe. (So far: a robin, another robin, yet another robin and a blue jay, a starling, a cardinal, and I’ve seen a grackle doing it but didn’t get a picture of it).

Before I learned what they were doing, I thought these birds were likely in distress because they were fluffed out with their mouths open and eyes half-closed and/or wings spread, which is how they often look when they have neurological injuries (after colliding with windows, for example), and they were doing it in the full sun, when there are several bird baths nearby.

Would it be worthwhile to start a project of sunbathing birds in case anyone is studying this phenomenon?


You can start a project on anything you consider interesting.


I think it would be interesting!

I saw a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak doing the same thing. A dramatic photo, because it looked like something nefarious had happened!


I believe that you can start a project on any topic you want, as @melodi_96 said. The only challenge I find here is how to define which observations would be part of your project. I don’t know if there is an automatic way to add them to the project (for instance, add all observations with an observation field of “sunbathing”)

I believe trditional project is good enough for this purpose, I have a similar one, creating an observtion field (if it doesn’t exist) would be cool.


How do you “search” for observations to add to your project?

There is an option on the main page of the project, usually in search I choose birds and type in words that could be in a description or comments of observations that will fit (in this case that will be something like “sunbathing”).


I have no experience with projects, so that’s why I asked. Thank you!

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Birds also do something called anting, which looks similar. Are there ant nests where you made thes observations?

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No ants to speak of in this area. I mean, they may walk by from time to time, but there are no nests nearby.

OK, Sunbathing Birds is a project now. Please add your photos!

Edited to add that I’m working on making it specific – running a project is new to me. Please bear with me while I figure it out.

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Yes, that looks extra nefarious, especially given the red breast!

@scharf ok so I joined the project because I have approximately 1 observation that has a bird sunbathing. The problem is that I have 40 observation’s currently attached to the project and I can’t figure out how to delete them from it…

I think they should just be manually inputted into the project.

For being specific you need a traditional project, you created a collectional one.


Thanks. I redid the project.

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@orlandob, thanks! I think you got booted from the project when I redid it to make it a traditional project. Please try rejoining now. The change should have removed all the non-sunbathing birds from automatically being added to the project.

In addition to anting, birds will also take dirt baths which apparently helps clean their feathers of excess oils.

Ok thanks @scharf for making the project.

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Wow, your beaks project is pretty interesting. I’m amazed So many people captured such a phenomena. Are there hotspots?