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.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Why it is called pigeon-toed

Pigeon toe is a condition where the toes point inward when walking. It’s very common in children under two years old. When we had this unusual visitor earlier in the week I took a couple snapshots. I noticed that in fact this pigeon’s toes do turn inward.

If you watch the birds at your feeding station you will see that some birds hop, hop, hop, and others prefer to walk around. Birds that hop take advantage of the pause between each jump to look around. Walking birds like the pigeons, doves, robins, and starlings, all move there head forward and back as they walk.

Like a toddler with a heavy head, the pigeon’s gate looks a little clumsy. However the bobbing head is really a way for the bird to fix his eyes on the surroundings. Although the head is moving relative to the body, the eyes are steady relative to the world, so the bird can focus on food or distant predators.

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