Sleep of the Sunbirds

Submitted by Webmaster on Tue, 21/06/2005 - 21:05

On a weekday last week at one in the afternoon, a group of chattering sunbirds came into my yard and settled down to rest.  It was the first sunny day after a run of rainy days and the birds were clearly happy about the return of the sun.  Altogether there were about five birds including two adult males.  Sometimes they slept together, however they mostly slept by themselves or at a little distance from their fellows.  Half of the group was always active, so only 2-3 birds were asleep at any one time.  After a half-hour, the birds resumed their daily rounds.  When they rested, they would fluff up their feathers and spread their tails.  Males would turn their shiny bibs toward the sun and look as though they are using their purch for a pillow.  The bibs looked jet black except when they raised their beaks and caught the light from another angle and revealed brilliant blue.Each nap lasted about ten minutes, provided the other birds where kind enough to take their chatter somewhere else.From watching my pet birds, I am certain that birds do not relax at night.  They can’t see and are frightened to move and they are usually cold – birds maintain higher temperatures than people.  It is only during the day, that they can have a really relaxing kip.These photos were taken from my house through closed louvres.  The birds were about 4 m away and were within the reach of a moderate zoom lens. Clicking on the images will display full sized images (800 x 600).  If you want to type in a note about what the sunbirds do in your garden, click here and then on the post button.