Funny Walks: Cranes bob, bob, bob along when hunting | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

MISSION CRITICAL

Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


News

Funny Walks: Cranes bob, bob, bob along when hunting

By
12:58pm, April 13, 2005

The jerky neck motions of a whooping crane looking for lunch keep its head still in space about half the time, probably helping the bird to spot food, a video study suggests.

When walking, cranes and many other birds thrust their heads forward, then let their bodies catch up. A Maryland research team now says that it has made the first measurements of a bird's natural head bobbing while hunting. The result fits the idea that head bobbing benefits a hunter, says Thomas Cronin of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Scientists have theorized for decades that head bobbing has something to do with vision, explains Cronin. When a bird's head is still, images form on the retina without the blur of motion. So, the hypothesis goes, maximizing the stillness

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content