A Year on Clear Lake-Jan 29, 2013

Bus Should Be Here Any Minute – January 29, 2013

On a windy, drizzly, January day, a burning question arises:  Why do birds all face the same direction?

It’s a phenomenon I’ve seen often though never really thought much about. Whether lined up on a fishing pier, standing in a parking lot, or strung out on a power line, birds all face the same direction. It’s even true in mixed company, as with the egret and the seagulls pictured above.

So what is going on? Is it some mysterious force that the birds are tuned into to, or just group think?  And if group think, which bird decides which way to face? What about mutiny? Is there ever one stand-alone bird who refuses to go along with it? We all known individuals like that – might even be one for that matter.  It’s the principle of the thing, you know.

Finally, after pondering the question all afternoon I sought the help of the greatest sage of all time–the  internet–and found birding expert George  H. Harrison (not to be confused with Beatle George H. Harrison) at eNature who says, “I would guess that it’s because they need to face into the wind in order not to ruffle their feathers, and to be able to take off efficiently.” That makes perfect sense.

Often we waste a lot of time and energy fretting about solutions when the answer is right in front of us–no matter which direction we’re facing. Don’t let your feathers get ruffled, and make it easy on yourself.