Most birds we observe have four toes, but the exact number of toes and
their arrangement, as well as their proportions, varies from family to
family. The perching birds we see at the feeders in mid-Michigan usually
have anisodiactyl feet. That means they have three toes that point
forward and one toe that points backward to make it easy to grab a
The woodpeckers’ feet are an exception to the birdfeeder crowd.
They have zygodactyl feet meaning two toes point forward and two point
backward so they can get a good grip on a tree bark.