Do Birds “Hear” Worms?

When a robin is searching for worms in the ground, it turns its head and leans downward. Because of this position, most people believe that the bird is straining to “hear” the worm.

But birds have their eyes on the sides of their head, and therefore must turn their head to the side to see what’s in front of them. So when a robin turns its head while searching for a worm, the question arises, is it trying to see the worm or hear it?

Scientists conducting experiments with birds have found that blind birds still turn their head toward the ground when they’re hunting for worms and that blindfolded owls can still catch mice.

So it’s probably true that a bird’s sense of hearing is sharp enough to pick up the faint sound of a worm moving through its burrow.