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Amazing Feet

Amazing – and fitting – feet
© Theron Trowbridge View Large

What looks like feet on a bird are actually its toes. That backward-looking knee is more like an ankle. A bird’s feet are suited to its unique way of living. Eagles capture live prey with long talons, while water birds use webbed feet to guide and propel themselves. And ostriches have two massive toes: the inner one has a huge nail that looks like a hoof, helping it run at up to 45 miles an hour.
Support for BirdNote comes from Song Bird Coffee, offering bird-friendly organic shade-grown coffee for holiday giving. More at birdnote.org/songbird.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Birds Have Amazing Feet – A Walk Through

Written by Bob Sundstrom
 
We often look first at birds’ beaks — the hooked, flesh-tearing beak of an eagle or the long spear of a heron’s bill. [Great Blue Heron: https://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/2034]
But today on BirdNote, we’re looking down — at a few amazingly different bird feet.
What looks like feet on a bird are actually its toes. And that backward-looking knee? It’s more like an ankle. But each bird’s feet are suited to its unique way of living.
Eagles capture live prey with their feet and often carry it off in flight. They have strong, grasping toes with long, sharp talons. How strong? Try squeezing a tennis ball with all your might. An eagle’s grip is ten times as strong.
Ducks, gulls, and other water birds have webbing between their toes. They use their feet to propel and guide themselves through the water.
[quack quack - Mallard https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/70887881]
Ostriches have only two toes, where most birds have four. But those toes are massive. The inner one has a huge nail that looks like a hoof. And the concept of a “hoof” is appropriate, because ostriches can run at up to 45 miles an hour.
            So the next time you see a bird, try looking down. At its feet.
    For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.
Support for BirdNote comes from Songbird Coffee. Offering bird-friendly, organic shade-grown coffee for holiday giving. More at BirdNote.org/Songbird.
                                                                                   ###
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by Gregory Budney and Charles A Sutherland.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Managing Producer: Jason Saul
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
© 2017 Tune In to Nature.org   November 2017   Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#                 feet-01-2017-11-06    feet-01

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