Engineering for Birds

My family has gotten into bird watching. That’s nice and all, but I love the biological mechanics of how nature works. While studying engineering at university Cat’s Paws and Catapults was an inspiration for how engineers can learn from natural mechanics.

Our local bookshop, East City Books, has a science section that highlighted “What It’s Like To Be a Bird” by the reknowned naturalist David Allen Sibley. The book is a fascinating “How Things Work” on the biological science of birds. Just a few quick facts to whet your appetite:

  • Birds have motion sensors in their hips & head that work independently!
  • Their toe muscles work like ‘ratchets’ so they can sleep on a branch.
  • Feathers include a variety of water repellent techniques.