Sitting Birds and Curious Children

I'm always amazed at the curiosity of my children, and I've learned a lot from them. We have a cockatoo and a little parakeet, and I've taken it for granted that they will perch to rest, sometimes on one foot and sometimes on two, but leave it to a five-year-old to ask, "Can birds sit down?"

Now, we raise chickens, and I know that they'll bed down in the grass, which is kind of like sitting; at least, they're not on their feet. (This is especially true of our meat birds, big fat Cornish Cross who can do little but lay in the grass.) I didn't think, though, that lighter, more athletic birds really sat or lay down unless they were warming their eggs. However, being a diligent father and easily nerd-sniped, I set out to find out the details.

It turns out that owners of cockatoos and macaws, in particular, sometimes give them a shelf in their cage to lay on — and they make use of it! One sun conure owner said that his bird loves to sleep on its back. That reminded me that I have in fact seen our cockatoo lay down on my wife's chest when she's petting/preening/obsessively picking at her. So even a healthy bird will lay down flat when it's comfortable enough.

Huh. Now that's a thing that we know.