Pricey JOAN — We often notice a line of birds perched on the identical wire no make any difference when we drive by. There is a set of two wires, and they are usually on the identical one particular.
This is on Freeway 85, in the San Jose, California, place. We observe it likely southbound, proper before you get to the Winchester Boulevard exit and south of Saratoga Avenue.
You see this in other spots, probably, but it really is puzzling about a busy freeway.
Any concept what this could be about?
Bonna Kauffman, Los Gatos
Expensive BONNA: I can not speak for these birds in distinct — it’s possible they’re all examining their Twitter accounts — but in general, birds have a matter for electric power lines.
Most of the birds you see perched on wires are passerines, which make up about fifty percent of all the birds in the environment. They are created for perching, with a single toe at the back again of their foot and three in the front, allowing for them to tightly grip a perch.
Originally, that was to hold on to tree branches, but as people designed and developed infrastructure, birds have just take benefit of our accidental generosity. Birds, of program, however perch in trees, but the overhead traces deliver some positive aspects for them.
In the wintertime, the traces can be a toasty area to perch. We’re not chatting steam heat listed here, but the traces are usually a couple degrees warmer than other sites, so that makes a nice place to sit.
The traces also give a great position to gaze out on the openness in lookup of foodstuff. We frequently believe this attribute is far more common in raptors, who location prey from earlier mentioned, then swoop in, but other birds like acquiring a higher vantage position to scan the ground under for most likely foodstuff places — trees in bloom, plants heading to seed, a swarm of insects and even a backyard feeder or two.
The traces also are a awesome location to relaxation, secure from hazards nearer to the floor. Additionally, the traces can provide as a gathering place to satisfy friends and household, and speak about activities of the day. Migrating birds often will rendezvous on electricity lines, collecting numbers ahead of heading off on their prolonged journeys. Migrating in flocks will make flying less complicated as they draft off just one one more, and the team supplies a evaluate of safety.
In especially windy situations, you can expect to see all the birds are dealing with the very same route: into the wind. That keeps their feathers from getting blown out of place. On windless times, the birds will sit any way they like.
Throughout mating period, there will never be as numerous birds on the wires as normal. Which is since when males are looking for a mate, they will not want to sit future to their competitors. (Who could blame them?) Nevertheless, a several males do acquire to the wires to sing their like tunes and make absolutely sure the women get a superior search at them.
As to why these individual birds choose the traces about a occupied freeway, I can’t say for specific, despite the fact that it is likely a practical place and the sound of the visitors of course does not hassle them. Problems on that just one wire, as opposed to the other, apparently are a lot more attractive, too.
It really is very likely the birds reside in the area and use the wires as resting and checking out areas, collecting there at periods for the duration of the day and then going dwelling to their neighborhood roosts at dusk.