Birds sleep dangerously at dizzying heights, dozing quietly on a tree branch, on a wire, fence, and at the edge of anything small enough for us to ignore and they never fall off. Why don’t birds tip over in their sleep?
Sometimes, when we are too tired, we doze off while traveling or even in office but as soon as we get a feeling of tipping over, we wake up. It happens more often than people fall out of bed and that too from a mattress that is usually more than twice as wide as themselves.
This does not happen to a bird, even though they have a sleeping space of only a few centimeters. Most birds sleep on trees. However, the bird never falls off its branch during its sleep. But what does it take to have such power?
The birds sleep differently than humans. We strive to bend our fists but the bird does it all by itself. It means that we have to apply a lot more force to turn our hands into fists or claw-like but conversely, the birds have to use muscle strength to stretch its claws. The reason behind this is automatism which means that the claw of a bird is always curved automatically.
Similarly, also at night, when a person sleeps, his hand relaxes and his fingers are stretched out. If the bird does the same and relaxes too, the claws remain bent. Bending works passively and is not controlled arbitrarily. Breathing while sleeping works in the same way.
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However, birds do not have a safe sleep because they always live in the wild amidst the dangers of neighbors’ cats which are frequently lurking. Therefore, birds do not sink into a deep sleep phase like humans, but only take breaks.
The thrush bird, for example, sleeps between one and three hours. The woodpecker is a real late riser with six hours of sleep because it has a safe resting place.
Birds have to keep their senses open and ready to survive, hence, the reduced sleep time. Though their claws keep them balanced even while sleeping, their balance is maintained by an organ in their hips. It also helps them maintain their balance while flying.
I hope you find it interesting as to why don’t birds tip over in their sleep, they are accustomed to this.
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