A Mourning Dove lies belly down on the soil of a garden bed. It fluffs its feathers, then relaxes its wings, draping them outward to expose fully its back and rump to the morning sun. A great many birds sun themselves, often in postures that give maximum sun exposure to the head, neck, and upper surfaces of the body and wings. Sunning may drive out parasites from hard-to-reach places or release vitamin D and boost energy reserves with solar radiation. And it may just feel good, too.
Sunning with Doves
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote!
As BirdNote writer Bob Sundstrom sat by the window one morning recently, watching birds flit through his yard, a subtle movement caught his eye. A Mourning Dove lay belly down on the soil of a garden bed, its plumage of earth-tone browns and grays blending perfectly with the earth. [Mourning Dove calls]
The slight movement came as the dove fluffed its feathers then relaxed its wings, draping them outward to expose fully its back and rump to the morning sun. The night had been cool, but the sun offered warmth. The Mourning Dove appeared to drowse, trance-like, its eyes nearly closed. Such was the bird’s quiet and camouflage that it took a moment to discern four more doves lying close by, also sunning themselves. [Mourning Doves calling]
A great many birds sun themselves, often in postures that give maximum sun exposure to the head, neck, and upper surfaces of the body and wings. We have a variety of theories about why, from driving out parasites from hard-to-reach places to releasing vitamin D and boosting energy reserves with solar radiation. It may very well be that it feels good, too – that sunbathing is just as soothing as the Mourning Dove’s call [Mourning Dove call].
If you’d like to share this show – or any other – with a friend, it’s easy to do, from our website b-i-r-d-n-o-t-e, birdnote.org. I’m Michael Stein.
Call of the Mourning Dove  provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, recorded by W.R. Fish.
Ambient drawn from dove-01.
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org April 2015 / 2021 Narrator: Michael Stein
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