How do birds on a wire balance themselves?
Imagine yourself standing on a wire 40 feet above the ground with
a gentle wind swaying the wire back and forth. How would you balance
You would probably swing your arms back and forth wildly in order
to try and maintain balance. Why is it that you never see birds
flapping their wings wildly to maintain balance?
This question has fostered many government studies and scientific
research. The reason most birds will stay on a wire without flapping
is that they have absolute confidence that they will not fall off.
Where does this confidence come from? It comes from the fact that
many birds such as the common blackbird and the song thrush actually
secrete a kind of super glue from their feet, sticking them to the
This glue needs to be secreted every so often as it is not a permanent
glue. But nonetheless it is a very effected telephone wire adhesive.
The common crow is one bird that does not have the ability to glue
itself to a wire and thus it uses its talons to form an "O"
ring around the wire. Every once in a great while you may spot a
tired or lazy crow that has slipped on now hangs upside down, looking
indignant. Some of the young Malaysian crows have been know to tuck
their heads under and do revolutions on the telephone wires like
gymnasts on a horizontal bar.
No matter what, it is widely acknowledged in the bird world that
flapping one's wings in a huge social faux paux. So birds will do
whatever they can to avoid this behavior including occasionally
hanging upside down to the chagrin of others.