Warbler Neck

In the current issue of Bird Watcher’s Digest, I have a piece on warbler neck, that stiffness and pain we get from looking into the treetops for too long. While some fatigue is inevitable after a long day in the field, our birding posture can prevent most of the discomfort and long-term damage associated with warbler neck. The article goes into greater detail, but here are two photos showing typical bad posture (left) and good posture (right).

In the left photo, notice how the shoulders are hunched up and the neck is bent back sharply. This leads to fatigue and excessive wear on the cervical vertebrae. This is my wife, Marsha, posing for this photo. Her posture is normally quite good, so it took a lot of posing on my part to get her this scrunched up.
In the right photo, the shoulders are down and the neck is gently sloping back. The body forms a single gentle arch from the head to the feet with no sharp kinks in between. This is Lauri Elizabeth, an instructor of The Alexander Technique, a method of movement and body alignment. I always sit up straighter when she is around.

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5 Responses to Warbler Neck

  1. Laura says:

    I passed on this wisdom to my group today as we angled up towards those flocks and flocks of warblers at Ankeny NWR. They really appreciated it!

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