Bird Falcated is the term given to a bird that has its beak or talons touching a particular object in flight. It is not uncommon to have a wild bird falcated, but when it happens most often with a member of the avian family it is usually referred to as a falconry display. Eagles and hawks are the only large-sized birds that regularly exhibit this behaviour. In case of smaller birds like budgies or parrots it is called 'stacking up'. This is considered to be a useful tactic for gathering food as they force the other birds into a pile by piling up their food.
What causes the bird's head to move? Sometimes the cause is not even apparent. The bird's eyes are extremely sensitive, so they can almost react to an intruder's movement with just a slight movement in the surrounding area. As the eyes of the bird become more sensitive to light the bird's head becomes darker.
Birds do not have wings that flap, rather their wings fold over the body and this action causes them to resemble tiny creatures with a long curving neck and short stout body. The main factor that causes the head to move is the flapping of the wings. Birds can flap their wings many times in a flight and each time produce a sound called 'wing flapping'. It is the sound that disturbs the nearby birds. Sometimes the flapping of the wings is followed by a sudden jerk as the body twists around quickly. If you have ever seen a truly spectacular bird falcated you will know exactly what I am talking about.
The best way to determine whether a bird falcated is still alive is by watching it for a few seconds after it has released its tail. The bird should now be at rest, upside down and not moving. This is an excellent way to determine if the bird is still alive or has simply flown away. If the bird does not appear to be alive after such a quick and sharp jerk of the body, you should try calling a bird vet for advice. There are rare occasions when a falcon will try to fly again after it has falcated.
There are a couple of signs that you should look for in a bird who is trying to recover. The first is that its beak will be hanging down and may appear to be wet or even slightly torn. The second is that its tail will be at a lower angle. In the latter case the tail will point straight up but in the former it tends to dip slightly at the end of the beak. Both these signs indicate that the bird is probably trying to avoid being caught by predators and is unable to fly properly.
If a bird falcates after flying for only a few hundred feet then it is highly likely that it is either sick or injured. Either way you should take measures to help it recover quickly and regain strength. It will take a little time and patience, but if you see signs of recovery then your feathered friend is likely ready to try another flight. As a last resort you can try to teach the bird to walk again.
An unconscious bird may flutter its wings briefly to regain the momentum that it lost before landing. This too is an indication that your bird is trying to right itself after a flight. However, after a short flight from the body will have lost too much energy to move and flutter its wings. If your bird falcated and did not recover then there is no point in trying to teach the bird how to fly again as it will never regain strength after that. There are other more humane methods such as holding the bird by the feet or holding a live animal close to it while teaching it to fly.
You should take a hand-held compass with you on any bird-watching trips. This will enable you to find where the bird has been flying to check whether they reached their destination or not. If they didn't take off correctly, it is a good idea to write down their flight path on a piece of paper so that you can identify the problem later. If you discover a particular route that your bird has been taking but it is not heading in the correct direction then put a stopwatch on the compass and wait for it to ticks over once. Once it stops, you know that your bird has made it to the right spot and is heading back home.