When we first saw these local Noisy Miners lying prostrate on the ground we thought they were injured. But it soon became apparent they were sunning.
Noisy Miners are among the cleanliest of birds. Few species enjoy bathing as regularly as Noisies, and they can often been seen indulging in dust baths as well.
Rarer to see is their habit of sunning: deliberately fanning and ruffling their feathers to maximize the exposure to sunlight.
The Miners seem to enter a slight torpor when they do this – remaining still and becoming a little more approachable than usual.
There are many theories as to why birds do this: to warm themselves up, to kill off or drive away parasites, to generate vitamin D, or maybe simply because they find it pleasurable.
In possible support of the “pleasure” theory, our Miners suddenly went into a frenzy! Six or seven birds began to violently jostle for the best positions – or perhaps it was just high-spirited play as a part of their downtime from feeding and defending their territories.
Apologies for the out of focus photos here – but it really was a fast-moving skirmish!
This guy could only watch the melee around him:
This bird perhaps illustrates best just how flat to the ground they get, and how splayed and ruffled they make their plumage.
This bird was lucky enough to get the prized location that had the best supply of dust as well, and he happily kicked it up about himself: