The other day I noticed something that I’m embarrassed to say I never noticed before. Birds don’t have ears. Interesting, I thought to myself. But hold the phone–if birds don’t have ears, why do they chirp all the live-long day? Things weren’t adding up…
I was relieved to see that I wasn’t the first person to admit ignorance regarding bird ears–there are indeed a slew of related questions within Yahoo! Answers. I did a general web search and found several sites that explain how birds hear.
Backyard Nature hosts an excellent article on the subject. The truth is that birds do have ears, they’re just not very easy to locate (owls excepted). Bird ears are covered with feathers. Once those feathers are spread apart, you can see that the ear hole is nearly as large as the bird’s eye. The author speculates that feathers cover the ears to drown out wind noise.
So, mystery solved–birds have ears. But that brings up another aviary question–how can birds perch on power lines and not get electrocuted? Enchanted Learning explains that for a bird to be electrocuted, a “potential difference must exist across two points of the bird’s body (its feet in the case of a bird on a power line).” Because both of the bird’s feet are on one power line, the bird is safe. However, if the bird were to touch two power lines at once, it would get quite a shock. This is often a danger for bigger birds with wider wingspans and squirrels with poor depth perception.
Thanks for reading,
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