Why is this Blackbird doing this?

  Sapins 18:36 28 Jun 16
Locked
Answered

There is an adult male Blackbird in our garden that seems to be catching insects in a shrub for a few minutes then it moves out into full sunshine crouches down and opens it 's wings, it stays like that for a few minutes then moves back into the shade of the shrub. It repeats this behaviour a few times then flies off.

  Belatucadrus 19:27 28 Jun 16

It could be a distraction behaviour if it has a nest nearby, pretending to be injured to draw a predators attention away from the nest.

Or if there is an ants nest there he's letting them clean his feathers of parasites, I've heard of starlings doing that maybe blackbirds do it to ?

  lotvic 19:28 28 Jun 16

behaviour known as 'sunning' RSPB click here

  hssutton 19:37 28 Jun 16

Agree with Lotvic the bird is sunbathing. my 'blackbird is often doing this in the garden when it's sunny

  morddwyd 19:44 28 Jun 16
Answer

It's called "anting" and is used to get rid of parasites.

It is more prevalent at this time of the year because they become particularly infested in the nest.

It usually takes the form of lying, in the way you suggest, on an ants nest, hence the name.

You will also see birds picking insects up in their bill and carefully placing them in their "armpits".

Most birds do it but blackbirds are particularly fond of the practice.

  Forum Editor 09:22 29 Jun 16

This behaviour could be sunning or anting.

If the bird is periodically flying back and forth it is more likely to be sunning, as birds are not able to easily regulate their temperature. When sunning, blackbirds often fly into a shade area after a few minutes, and then back into the sun, and so on.

In my experience, anting is a one-off operation - the blackbird would lie on an ants nest, as morddwyd explained, and once the ants have done their stuff the bird will fly off. It doesn't go back and forth, as yours was doing.

  morddwyd 06:28 02 Jul 16

I've got blackbirds round my feet like chickens at the moment.

I#ve been feeding the female live mealworms (which all the thrush family love) since the winter and she's now accompanied by four lusty youngsters and the old man!

I've already had to chuck one out of the conservatory and persuade another that I really didn't want him perched on the steering wheel while I went shopping.

Last week I was sitting with my morning coffee when I became aware of a tapping on the window, and she was sitting there bashing away with her bill trying to get my arrention.

  Forum Editor 10:36 02 Jul 16

morddwyd

Be afraid, be very afraid.

  morddwyd 19:10 02 Jul 16

:-)

  Belatucadrus 20:52 02 Jul 16

We used to have a pheasant like that, he'd come into the house and peck your feet if you weren't prompt enough with the birdseed. We called him crazy Norman and he was as mad as a hatter, totally unafraid of cats, if I was out target shooting with the air rifle, Norman was the only one daft enough to walk right up to the target to see what was going on.

  morddwyd 08:14 03 Jul 16

Any pheasant daft enough to do that round me would quickly find itself hanging in a cool draught for 3 - 5 days!

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