Perhaps each of us at least once in lifethere was a condition in which we would be ready to give everything we have, if only to be in a warm and comfortable bed after a hard working day. As reported in the journal Current Biology, not only human individuals have this property. More recently, it has been discovered that some migratory birds are willing to pay even their lives simply for taking a nap. Why are they doing this? Well, let's try to figure it out together.
Do birds sleep in flight?
When you drive a car during a longtravel, you always have the opportunity to relax in a roadside hotel or at least in your own car. Unfortunately, birds do not have such an opportunity. But even despite this sad fact, most birds have long adapted to sleep during a long flight. So, swifts learned to sleep right during the flight! In addition, these amazing creatures spend the first few years of their lives constantly in the air. Swifts return to the ground only when they will need to breed chicks.
You might be wondering: Why do birds collide with airplanes?
We went the other evolutionary path, or rather,flew, storks. In order to cover a long distance with minimal temporary losses, these birds also adapted to sleep in the air, but with one small “but”. So, in order to get enough sleep during the flight, the most tired storks rebuild in the middle of the wedge and partially fall asleep, focusing in a dream on the cries of their brethren. When, after 10-15 minutes (this is how much time these birds have enough time to rest), the storks wake up, the next batch of storks replaces the rested ones and falls asleep in the center of the wedge.
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Why do birds sacrifice their lives for sleep?
According to ornithologists, manymigratory songbirds prefer to sleep on the ground with their heads hidden under feathers. In such a simple way, many species of birds are able to retain heat and energy for a long time, but at the same time are constantly at risk of being attacked by ground predators. In addition, the researchers proved that such a dangerous pose for sleeping is taken by those birds that for some reason are deprived of the internal fat layer or birds that are extremely depleted in flight.
Despite a much calmer situation insleeping time, seemingly comfortable posture actually greatly slows down the reaction of birds to the sound of potential danger. Birds in slightly better shape most often sleep with their heads turned forward, while remaining more alert in the face of a possible threat.