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Catchin' Some Rays

EEKS! What's the matter with that bird, flopped on the ground. Is it sick or injured or something?

Well, it's the last week of summer vacation, and most of us want to be outdoors, catching one last bit of sun. These birds are takin' in some rays, too. Yes, American Robins are among the top sunbathing beauties. Mourning Doves do it ... jays, all kinds of birds. It's a sort of avian spa treatment.

And why? Sunning may drive out parasites from hard-to-reach places and also activate a bird's preening oil gland. In cold weather, it may boost energy reserves with solar radiation. And it may just feel good.

The bird to the right is an American Robin. How many of the rest can you name? Answers at the bottom.

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Top: American Robin, Mike Hamilton
1st row, L-R: Mou
rning Dove, Joseph V Higbee; Dark-eyed Junco, Mike Hamilton; juvenile American Robin, Mike Hamilton
2nd row, L-R: Downy Woodpecker,
Mike Hamilton; Black-billed Magpie, Ard van der Leeuw; Western Wood-Pewee, Mike Hamilton
3rd row, L-R: Song Sparrow,
Mike Hamilton; Blue Jay, FocusShoot; Anhinga, Brian Smith

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