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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Listening for Worms

As visitor Mike noted a few days ago we seem to have a lot of Robins this year - large flocks. I spent some time watching some of these birds the other day and was able to capture a bit of their hunting technique. Robins like to eat insects and worms. We all know this having seen that classic cartoon subject of the bird (usually a Robin) pulling a worm out of the ground. Robin is the "early bird" that gets the worm. What may not be so widely known is that Robins use more than their eyes to locate their prey. They also find worms by listening for the sounds they make as they move underground. If you watch Robins closely you will see them take two or three hops then cock their heads to one side for a few seconds and then to the other side for a few seconds. If they hear something they will dig it up with their beaks, otherwise they take another few hops and repeat the process, listening first to one side then to the other. It must take very sharp hearing and intense concentration to hear such tiny sounds.

5 comments:

JoJo said...

I never thought about worms making any kind of sound! The birds' hearing must be supersonic! I wonder if dogs can also hear critters under the surface.

Cybele Moon said...

a promise of spring!!! lovely chubby robins so focused on their mission!! Great photos.

William Kendall said...

I had no idea. I knew that owls and other predator birds use hearing in winter to detect moles or mice underneath the snow.

Stephanie said...

Interesting tidbit to know. Great images!

Matthew Feehan said...

Wow very interesting information, and great pics too