Birds standing on one leg (1 Viewer)

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
I was watching a Redshank today, standing as they so often do, on one leg; the usual explanation for this being to save energy. It was in a small but steep-sided gully in a mudflat, with the rising tide nearly reaching it.

When the tide did reach it, instead of putting its other leg down to walk out easily, it hopped up the gully side on its single exposed leg, and had to flap its wings vigorously several times to keep balance on the mud.

That surely uses more energy than putting the 2nd leg down and walking? What is it that so strongly favours its staying on just one leg, even when it is awkward for it to do so?
 

fugl

Well-known member
. . .That surely uses more energy than putting the 2nd leg down and walking? What is it that so strongly favours its staying on just one leg, even when it is awkward for it to do so?

Inertia under less than dire conditions, perhaps? Half-asleep with insufficient incentive to snap out of it. . .?
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi,

What is it that so strongly favours its staying on just one leg, even when it is awkward for it to do so?

If it intends to keep resting on one leg, putting the other one down into the mud even for a moment might be inconvenient because the muddy foot would soil the plumage when the bird goes back to standing on one leg.

At least, that's what I was told motivates gulls to sometimes fly short distances with the legs extended. If they fly overhead, that sometimes provides the opportunity to see that the dangling feet are dark with mud ...

Regards,

Henning
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
Hi,

If it intends to keep resting on one leg, putting the other one down into the mud even for a moment might be inconvenient because the muddy foot would soil the plumage when the bird goes back to standing on one leg.

At least, that's what I was told motivates gulls to sometimes fly short distances with the legs extended. If they fly overhead, that sometimes provides the opportunity to see that the dangling feet are dark with mud ...

Good point thanks - it is very gloupy mud there, so that would certainly happen!
 

fugl

Well-known member
Hi,



If it intends to keep resting on one leg, putting the other one down into the mud even for a moment might be inconvenient because the muddy foot would soil the plumage when the bird goes back to standing on one leg.

At least, that's what I was told motivates gulls to sometimes fly short distances with the legs extended. If they fly overhead, that sometimes provides the opportunity to see that the dangling feet are dark with mud ...Henning

Very interesting. Makes a lot of sense. . .always nice to have positive explanations for puzzling pieces of behavior.
 
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Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
This Golden Plover at the same site shows nicely the state of the mud there :eek!: :-O
 

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SeniorCitizen

Well-known member
My theory is to think of it as the quicksand predicament sometimes humans get themselves into resulting in both feet stuck. If they attempt walking out it only worsens the problem, although there is a special technique to free themselves but most aren't aware of that technique.

OH my, what would a human pay for a pair of wings that would free them as sure death from dehydration sometimes approaches.
 

Sancho

Well-known member
My theory is to think of it as the quicksand predicament sometimes humans get themselves into resulting in both feet stuck. If they attempt walking out it only worsens the problem, although there is a special technique to free themselves but most aren't aware of that technique.

.

SC...please tell us the technique, I've no idea what it could be, and now it's adding to my anxiety-list of 'things that could go wrong'!;)
 

SeniorCitizen

Well-known member
SC...please tell us the technique, I've no idea what it could be, and now it's adding to my anxiety-list of 'things that could go wrong'!;)

The technique was on a Weather Channel program -" So You Think You Would Survive " - linked is the beginning but it looks as if one must possibly subscribe to see the full segment.

As I recall it was to gently move one foot up/down a few seconds then alternate .

https://weather.com/tv/shows/secrets-of-the-earth/video/the-science-behind-quicksand
 

Sancho

Well-known member
Thanks Senior Citizen and Chris! One less disaster-scenario to worry about (any advice on Brexit?;)) Funnily, I had always reckoned, with no scientific basis, that the way to deal with quicksand was to lie down...spread out the weight and stop moving.
I learned years ago from an Isaac Asimov book (Childhood's End) that if the tide goes out too far, run like hell to high ground. Never had to use that one either. Pretty boring life;).
 
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Hauksen

Forum member
Hi Sancho,

I learned years ago from an Isaac Asimov book (Childhood's End) that if the tide goes out too far, run like hell to high ground.

You're actually thinking of his equally famous colleague Arthur C. Clarke, I believe :)

Regards,

Henning
 

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