Monday, December 22, 2008

Do Bird's Feet Stick To Metal Perches or Feeders

I get asked this question all the time when it starts to get below freezing at night. "Won't the bird's feet stick to the metal perch on birdhouses or feeder parts." I figured that this would be as good of a time as any time to answer this question, especially since we received 12" of snow the past two days and its been extremely cold at night.

As you may know, our fingers may stick to metal ice cube trays because moisture freezes on contact with frigid metal. So, will birds stick to metal feeder parts and metal perches during subfreezing temperatures?

Well bird's feet are covered with dry scales, so there is no surface moisture, making it just about impossible for them to freeze to metal perches. A bird's legs and feet lack fleshy muscle and are made up mostly of tough tendons. Their eyes, tongues, and beaks are usually safe from exposure to metal feeder parts as well. Rapid reflexes prevent the eye from coming in contact with foreign metal surfaces and bird's beaks are toughened, calloused and dry. During cold weather little blood flows to a bird's extremities.

But, has this ever happened? This is an extremely rare event. We have read only one report of a bird's feet sticking. If you observe this unfortunate circumstance don't panic, a bird can be freed from this rare predicament by pouring warm water over the contact point.


Carol said...

I love your blog and all the birdy info your post.

Merry Christmas

Kim said...
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Pink Signs said...

Great blog, love it. I am adding your link to our animal blog:

vicious and dangerous

not as bad as it sounds