Parrot Toe Lock

by Sally Blanchard

Birds don't have to stay awake thinking about staying on their perches while they sleep. Why don't they, including parrots, fall off of their perches or tree branches while they are resting or sleeping?

The reason is that they have a tendon that comes down from their lower leg bone, goes through the ankle and then automatically locks their toes around the perch.

If they have to move fast or wake up straightening their legs will unlock the tendon.

As some parrots age, this mechanism may not work quite as well. This can result in falls so perching logistics may have to be reconsidered. 




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