21 September 2022
Yesterday’s high in Pittsburgh was 77 degrees but the sun probably felt much warmer at the Cathedral of Learning peregrine nest. Ecco took advantage of the sun to heat his feathers and skin.
Though it looks odd when they do it, birds sunbathe primarily for feather maintenance. The sun’s heat kills feather lice, the tiny parasites that nibble on feathers. The bugs that aren’t killed outright move off the bird’s back to locations where it’s easier to preen them away. National Audubon explains how this works at Hot, Bothered, and Parasite-free.
For additional reasons for sunning see The Spruce: Bird Sunbathing – Why Do They Do It?
Photos: Though the nestbox streaming camera is off for the season, you can see live snapshots at Cathedral of Learning Falconcam Snaphots.
(photos from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)