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Bobbing birds do it for a reason

n, it never went through a stable phase. The critical observation, however, was that when the birds are searching for food, they walk at a moderate pace that allows the head to be held still more than 50% of the time. In other words, when foraging, whooping cranes favor visual fixation.

This result strongly suggests that visual fixation not only removes motion blur but also plays a critical role in permitting the detection, localization, and recognition of objects. Head-bobbing behavior, so characteristic of birds, permits the close and stable examination of objects in view during the immobile phase and allows the birds to change their point of gaze and probably to gather a sense of space and of the relative positions of objects when the head is thrust forward.


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Source:Cell Press


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