Misha’s Perch


If you have never thought about it,ponder for a moment what it might be like to have to stand on one surface forever. You’re probably thinking how uncomfortable  that would be. Well, for humans it would be because we aren’t made to stand for hours on end and jump off at a moments notice. We are capable of doing these things but our body wasn’t designed that way. Birds are different, they stand for a majority of their lives and their weights and joints are made differently.

At the museum, we need to make sure that what our birds stand on is proper for them. If not, they can develop foot sores.Next time you are at the museum, look at our owl exhibits and see if you notice these things:

Different woods- different branches of different kinds of trees have different textures. This can help with with their nails and a lot of times the birds like to either strip the bark off with their feet or beak.

Different sizes- the diameter of the branches differ for different kinds of birds. The feet have to be a comfortable fit with the branch, not too large and not too small. We put in different sizes for comfort as well as giving the birds foot “exercise” so the bird has to flex his feet for the different diameters.

Different textures- sometimes our perches are wrapped in foam,AstroTurf ,rope or neoprene. This can help with the comfort of the bird if the bird is a little bit older and needs a little more padding. Its also something that’s different for the bird.

Here the birds are perched on rope with an astro-turf perch pictured as well

Photo:Richard Brunotte

Stability- Of course all of our perches are safely secure but sometimes we purposefully secure them so they have a little bounce to them. This simulates how branches are in the wild since they usually have a little spring in them and the birds have to use their muscles to balance on them.

The last is my favorite.If you have followed our blog then you already know about out older Red Tailed Hawk, Misha.

Since he lives outside and is an older bird we want him to be very comfortable. When the nights get VERY cold we bring out birds inside, sometimes when its cooler and not bad enough to bring them in we turn on Misha’s perch.

Heated- Birds lose heat through their legs and feet.So, we decided to give extra heat through a perch rather then using a bulb or heater. Our exhibits department came up with a brilliant idea of heating with Christmas light bulbs. His perch is made of metal pole where several strands of Christmas lights  inside. The lights give off enough heat to warm and not burn and the perch is wrapped with comfy and soft neoprene.


This is an example of bumble foot. A painful condition that can be helped with proper perches.



2 responses to Misha’s Perch

  1. DJ says:

    I agree.. so attentive and so compassionate towards the bird’s needs.

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