18th July 2017

‘Sunning; Wren- the bird most frequently ‘sunning’ in our garden, and anywhere, is the Blackbird. Yesterday and today the Dunnock, Blackbirds, Robins and this Wren were sunning- spreading their wings and tail feathers, fluffing up their soft, downy body and head feathers, deliberately positioned to get maximum sun onto them. There are many theories about why birds ‘sun’ but one reason seems to be to control their body temperature, since birds can’t perspire. This Wren was in and out of sun and shade, and was also gaping with its bill to cool itself. Another is thought to be to stimulate the oil from its preen-gland, on the base of a birds’ back- seen in one photo of the Wren- the oil is used to condition and waterproof feathers. Sunning

Wren- ‘sunning’

Wren partially sunning.

Wren ‘sunning’ showing its oil-gland

Wren, beginning sunning

is also thought to activate mites and parasites so they are more easily cleaned off by preening. Conditions: Hot, sunny with a breeze. Temperature: Max 23- Min 14C.

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