If you’re wondering how the wildlife is coping with this 100+ weather, here’s how our GBH is behaving.
I’ve seen Great Blue Herons in this pose before, but I always thought it was a way of gaining heat, not cooling oneself off. I think, however, it also serves to help straighten curled feathers, but still a strange behavior in this heat. The bird was facing the sun so it seems the wings would to act as a parabolic reflector.
If that strange posture wasn’t enough, the heron struck this pose (below) a few minutes later.
During this entire display the heron was panting, its gular pouch (the white area just under the bill, top photo) was constantly vibrating, fluttering rapidly. Like dogs, birds “sweat” by panting so this heron is obviously hot to a point where it needs to thermoregulate, cool down.
The boulder that the heron is standing on must be rather hot as well. At the time of day the photo was taken (4:30 PM) it had been in direct sun for at least six hours.
Strange behavior, indeed!