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We have seen this behavior many times in our back yard, during the
hotter months.  If you look at their gular region when they are doing
this, you'd see it vibrating, indicating that they are "panting".  The
wings are being held out from the body, and the white under-parts, which
are least heat absorbent, are facing sunward. This is a heat release
mechanism for this and many other bird species.

Lilian Saul (& Doug Wassmer)
Tampa, FL
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-----Original Message-----
From: Florida Birds [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Sarah Linney
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 2:01 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [FLBIRDS] GBH wings akimbo

Just so we are all on the same page about this behavior....

JBass wrote:
>Herons and Egrets both will "canopy" to create a shaded area in the
water.
>The shade looks like a sheltered area to fish.
>-J


Yes, I've seen that behavior. This is totally different. They are not
producing any shade whatsoever and aren't even feeding. Imagine a GBH
standing straight up and the wing tips folded behind its back--not
unlike
trussing up a Thanksgiving turkey--which gives it a VERY odd look. The
bend
of the wing forms a triangle with the body on each side. I have to do a
doubletake every time I've seen this posture.

Sarah Linney
Cocoa, FL
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