It’s been a year and a half since I published Why do Birds stand on one leg? and it continues to garner about two views a day. Any time I see birds standing on one leg, I tend to pay more attention since it is a topic searched and read daily on this blog.
Another question which came to my mind is: “How do birds stand on one leg?” The Canada goose pictured here is resting. He might even be sleeping in the warmth of the sunshine after days of cold January weather. Why doesn’t he fall over? It didn’t take me long to find the answer.
Professor Reinhold Necker has published some interesting articles on bird behavior. One of them goes specifically into how birds stand on one leg. Long legged birds like flamingos and herons have a locking mechanism in their knee joints to securely keep their legs straight when standing on one leg. Shorter birds like ducks and geese, rely on several systems: the inner ear, muscles and joints and an additional sense organ found in a bird’s vertebrae. This sensory organ works directly with the bird’s legs to help it balance when performing tasks like preening while standing on one leg.
Our feathered friends continue to amaze me on how they have adapted to do things I could not do for longer than a half a minute (maybe!). Yet, they do it effortlessly for long periods.