10 Shocking Bird Facts
Birds are boring, right? Wrong! Birds worldwide offer a rich variety species, each with their own amazing traits and distinctive behaviors. Here are just 10 of the most shocking bird facts, that will cause you to see birds, and birding in a new light.
- The eye of a bird occupies over 50% of the bird’s head. In humans, the eyeball only takes up 5%. For an in depth understanding of this topic, check out this article at ScienceDirect: The scaling of eye size in adult birds: Relationship to brain, head and body sizes
- Owls can turn their head almost 360 degrees. This fact might be well known, but did you know they cannot move their eyes? Check out this National Geographic page: Owls can’t move their eyeballs
- Birds eat twice their weight each day. The next time someone says “eat like a bird” drop this factoid on them and witness their stunned reaction. To dive into this data, see this table of Animal Weights and their Food and Water Requirements
- Birds don’t have bladders. To save weight, their feces and urine are combined into a white-pasty substance. For a details breakdown of the bird waste process, see the following page on 10,000 Birds: What is bird Poop?
- Which came first, the chicken or the egg? According to National Geographic scientists, the answer is …. the egg! See this SmartNews post from the Smithsonian Magazine: Problem Solved: The Egg Came First
- Many birds, such as Starlings sing in notes too high for the human ear. There’s literally entire bird conversations we cannot detect without special devices. PBS has a great page on The Life of Birds that delves into this, and other facts about bird songs called: Bird Song
- A bird’s feathers weigh more than it’s skeleton. This is due to their skeletons being thin and in some cases hollow to aid in respiration. For a great write up on the topic, check out this Eastern Kentucky University page: Bird Respiratory System
- Three quarters of birds in the wild live for less than one year. Larger birds live longer than smaller birds, and countryside birds live longer than city birds. Learn more with this Standford University essay: How Long Can Birds Live?
- The Lammergeyer vulture will pick up bones and drop them to extract marrow or to make them easier for consumption. National Geographic has a great video of this behavior: The Lammergeyer
- The Peregrine Falcon can dive at speeds of over 110 MPH. Fans of Super Smash Bros. already know about the “Falcon Punch”, but some may not know it has a firm basis in reality. YouTube has a video of a Peregrine Falcon intercepting a duck (poor duck): Peregrine Falcon Strikes Duck Midair If you can’t get enough of this awesome predator, the BBC has another video: Pigeon vs Peregrine Falcon