Imagine if you could take a nap while driving or without falling flat on your face while standing in line! If you were a bird, you’d be capable of these and a few other incredible sleep feats. These winged travelers have a few tricks up their theoretical sleeves to catch a few z’s that’ll put all of your dreams about flying to shame!

As with most everything birds do, they do it with flair. In the case of shut-eye, instead of sleeping on their sides, backs, or stomachs like you’ll find me on any given night, they’ve adopted a slew of impressive adaptations to help them snooze soundly, anywhere.

After learning how they make it happen, you’ll be able to spot these downy dozers everywhere!

Image: Two birds having a rest on a branch

Source: Pixabay

Meet These Master Nappers!

And you thought your sleep schedule was out of whack.

There are slumbering birds all around us and we’d never know! Whether they’re soaring through the air or perched precariously on a twig, it’s almost always the perfect time for a nap. They can shut down half of their brain at a time and activate the locking mechanism built into their legs to enjoy a nice siesta wherever they happen to be! Even birds traveling hundreds of miles at a time are able to sip on a little sleep as they travel the airways.

But… how does all of that work? This delightful animation from the Smithsonian Channel lets us in on their tricks!

Isn’t that amazing?! Surely makes you wonder what’s really going on when a bird flies above your head!

Of course, birds aren’t the only ones with peculiar sleeping habits. In fact, dolphins share the same unihemispheric sleep as they do! With one eye open, these air-breathing but water-living creatures thrive. Check out this video, also from The Smithsonian Channel’s series The Secret World of Animal Sleep, to learn more about how the dolphins slip in a snooze!

If you’re interested in more, I highly suggest settling in with their full season of episodes. You can watch it here!

The world of wonder flying over our heads!

It may seem like it’s too simple to really work, but what if looking at the small wonders in our lives could lead us to bigger and better ones?

I’m talking small wonders, like, really small. A grain of sand or that dust bunny under your bed, small. If more people knew about and delighted in these miniature wonders of our world, would we all find joy a lot more often?

If we can revel in the pleasure of spotting a bird during one of its naps when we walk from our houses, I think that’s a start.

Wherever we go, there’s always something new to delight in about the world that we live in. All it takes is asking the first question. (“Why?”, “How?”, “What?”, “Who?”, “When?”, “Where?” are all great places to start.)

For more great bird content, make sure you check out this circle of articles next!

Stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

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  1. Smithsonian Channel. “The Secret World of Animal Sleep 103: Asleep on the Wing.” YouTube, 29 Apr. 2020, Accessed 15 Sept. 2020.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.