About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Where Do Birds Go At Night?

As the last pale rays of the winter sun disappear, the activity at our birdfeeders comes to an abrupt halt. Birds head for a perch in leafy bushes, evergreens, vines or dense brush piles for the night. Starlings and pigeons can roost under bridges. Ducks often sleep while floating. Woodpeckers can hook their claws into tree bark or retreat into holes to sleep. Chickadees and titmice also roost in tree holes, bird houses or roosting pockets for safety and warmth.

Hold on Tight!
When birds are tired, they scrunch down to sleep because that automatically makes the toes grip their perch and stay locked. In the legs of most tree-dwelling birds, the tendons from certain muscles extend down the leg behind the ankle to attach to the tips of the toes and when their knees bend, the tendons are pulled taut, making the toes on their feet clench. This keeps the bird from falling off while it sleeps! To unlock this tight grip, the bird needs only to stand up straight.

Surviving Bitter Cold Nights
Warm shelters help, but when the temperature drops below zero, sleeping birds need bellies full of high calorie foods to keep their little bodies warm. So remember on bitter cold days, fill your feeders full of seed. Also, those little birds wake up hungry! Oil sunflower, safflower, nuts, suet, and thistle seed are the highest calorie foods you can provide.

1 comment:

NicoleB, Kuwait said...

Weird - I was wondering about this just today.
During the day - it was raining and the birds sure didn't book that weather when they decided to go to live in Kuwait - they were all bundled up in some dead trees. As soon as it got dark, they were all gone. Laughing doves and sparrows alike.
I wonder if they go hide in the bigger trees?

I didn't know that some can perch right at the bark or on a branch and their claws lock themselves there.