The Bald Eagles Sleeps
Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 02:50 PM EDT
Contributed by: Anonymous
Ostrich has noted that when the eaglet first settles down to rest, he will repeatedly put his head down on the nest bowl but rise and look around after only a couple of seconds. This pattern will repeat a number of times. After gradually settling down the eagle will finally appear to go into a sleeping mode for much more extended periods however, will still seem to be quite alert if a sudden sound is heard and will cause him to rise and look around instantly. Naturally the question comes to mind - is this behavior the result of needing to be alert to dangers?
Ostrich posed the question, "I wonder if there are any general differences in sleep patterns between birds and mammals"?
AJL answered saying, "One comparative study found differences in rapid eye movement sleep (in the study birds, REM sleep time was 10 to 25% lower than in mammals). When the eagles were incubating, some viewers mentioned Dad sleeping with one eye open; I don't know that regular "one eye open" sleep has been confirmed in eagles, but it has in avian species that sleep on the ground. A paper in the Journal of Behavioral Brain Research presented evidence that birds control sleep and wakefulness simultaneously in different regions of the brain. Only birds and aquatic mammals (presumably so they won't drown while sleeping) do this."
Soundguy posted a video which illustrates some of the sleeping behaviors. Ostrich explains that at the start of the video the eaglet appears to be fully asleep. However, once the parent vocalizes nearby he reacts very quickly, going from a sleeping state to an alert state almost immediately. Video can be viewed at:
Skipper has posted a Video
named "The Siesta" which captures napping behavior
For more fascinating insights into the activities in the nest take a
look at the Discussion
Forum - Sidney Bald Eagle Nest topic