Yes, technically it’s an ad for a car, but HOLY COW is this video of chickens mesmerizing:
Chickens can keep their heads stable when their bodies move, thanks to their long, S-shaped necks. (That’s why it LOOKS like their heads are bobbing when they walk — their heads are actually staying in the same place. If you put a chicken on a treadmill — and we aren’t suggesting you do — it stops bobbing its head.)
According to Cornell’s Kevin McGowan:
By keeping the head still, the bird gets a better look at the world and is able to see things more clearly. It can focus on one spot for a longer period of time.
This tactic is especially useful for seeing motion. Birds are very interested in moving things: small moving objects to catch and eat (such as insects), and large moving objects that might be dangerous and need to be avoided (such as hawks). Detecting movement while you are moving is hard; the best way to do it is to stand still. The head bobbing of birds allows them to detect movement while they are moving too.
Please cancel all my appointments.
If you’re too hypnotized and you need to snap out of it, this next video should help. I guess these guys were so impressed by chickens’ head-stabilizing powers that they wrote a song about it? (We know. Please don’t email.)
Stabilizing vision: do the chicken head, CogSci.
Video Demonstrates a Chickens Ability to Stabilize Its Head, This Is Colossal.
Get Grist in your inbox