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Re: Odd Great Blue Heron Behavior
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject: Re: Odd Great Blue Heron Behavior
- From: "Greg" <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 13 May 2002 16:47:57 -0400
- Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Last week I observed a blue heron behaving strangely.
> She was "kneeling down" on a mud flat.
> I don't know how else to describe it since heron's knees bend in the
> opposite direction from ours.
The knee on birds is usually not visible on live birds. It's there, just
covered with the flesh and feathers of the body. The part that is visible
and that bends, the part that you can see bend, is more like our (human
beings) heel then a knee. Birds walk on their toes or digits. The thin part
of the "leg" just above those three or four toes (can anyone name the three
toed birds--North American, that is) is the tarsometatarsus which is more or
less the equivalent of our instep. And the tarsometatarsus bone is
connected to the tibiotarsus bone, the tibiotarsus bone is connected to the
knee bone...the tibiotarsus is similar to our shin.
> We have eleven heron nests here at Greenview and I've never observed this
> behavior before.
> Has anyone else out there seen birds kneel this way?
Yes. I've seen that behavior in Herons, Woodstorks, Greater Flamingo, an
Hudsonian Godwit (think that one was actually ill though, or at least very
tired), a Black-bellied Plover, and, if I remember correctly a passerine of
some sort, just can't remember which one. I think, however, that it is much
more common among the long-legged birds. Who knows, if you followed a Wood
Thrush or an Ovenbird around all day, you might see it kneel, or rather,
"heel down" at some point during the day. It's got to be tiring to walk
around on your toes all day, don't you think?