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Dear Bird Folks,

Even though ns don"t live near water I regularly see gulls flying around my neighborhood. I recognize that castle don"t need to live through the "sea," however my inquiry is: Where execute the gulls walk at night? They need to sleep at some point, yet I can"t imagine they roost up in the trees prefer the various other birds do. -Polly, Needham, MA

Speaking the sleep, Polly,

I swear I"ve reply this inquiry before, yet after checking our huge archives ns can"t discover a single column on resting birds, so maybe I just dreamed that I created one. Walk you ever do that, think other really happened only to number out later that that was all a dream? It wake up to me a lot. Favor the time ns went Rollerblading along the Cape cod Canal v Barbara Walters. I"m optimistic we stopped for ice cream cream afterwards, however Barbara states we didn"t. So ns guess ns must have dreamed around the ice cream. (I perform that a lot, too.) yet whether I"ve written about sleeping birds before or not, it"s a an excellent topic, so let"s perform it. It"s pretty dramatic as soon as you think around it. Every day lengthy the trees, fields and also skies are filled v birds of all sizes. Yet as quickly as the sunlight goes under they disappear, leave the owls to have all the dark hrs to themselves. Well, that"s not completely true, but much more on that later. Let"s start with the gulls an initial since friend did ask about them. Or did ns dream that, too? return it"s no true in every case, most birds often tend to roost in the same kind of habitat the they select to colony in. You would think the a dense thicket or the height of a tall tree would be one appealing ar for both structure a nest and for sleeping; and also for part birds, it is...but no for gulls. They like it out in the open. Obstacle beaches, dunes, sandbars, and lightly vegetated islands every appeal come gulls feather to develop a nest. The same locations are additionally attractive come gulls when it comes time to acquiring some shuteye. However, inland gulls can"t walk running back to the beach every night, for this reason they look at for similar habitat locally. Open up fields, parks, parking lots, and also even rooftops of large buildings are substituted because that beaches. Sleeping in the center of a parking many doesn"t sound very cozy come me, however gulls room a paranoid lot. They prefer to be the end in the open where they have the right to see danger coming native a long means off. Gulls, and most birds, have a factor to be paranoid. The second they close their eyes over there is a possibility that other will shot to eat them. Due to the fact that of ever-present danger, lock rarely have anything close come a heavy eight hours. Many of what birds experience is nothing an ext than a collection of, for want of a much better word, catnaps. They need to constantly be aware of their surroundings. Some experts have argued that they can literally become "half-asleep." half of their brain shuts down, when the other half stays alert. Ns don"t think I would last an extremely long as a bird, due to the fact that I"m a super-deep sleeper. If an owl came and also ate me throughout the night, I most likely wouldn"t wake up up till the next day, when I was spit out together a pellet. I"d bet the most people think when a bird sleeps it tucks that is head under its wing. Yet think about that because that a minute. Could you sleep through your head under her arm? not me. There is no means I could sleep v my nose all over near mine underarm. Instead, bird either hunch their heads down onto their shoulders or they revolve their heads 180 degrees and tuck your beaks into their ago feathers. I"m certain tucking your heads" right into their back feathers helps with insulation, yet the main reason they perform it is for relaxation. Their back acts choose a pillow (a down pillow to be exact). Of course, no all birds room as willing to sleep the end in the open like the gulls. Many songbirds look for thickets and dense trees to sleep in. Woodpeckers generally sleep in the holes they space so fond of making. Chickadees and also bluebirds additionally use woodpecker holes once nights are particularly cold. Sea ducks have actually the worst the the worst sleeping arrangements. Not only do lock sleep out in the center of the ocean, through no security from the wind, however they have to address the ever-turning seas and also have who-knows-what swim underneath them. Plus they room constantly wet. And we complain about scratchy sheets. Together I pointed out earlier, for birds resting isn"t constantly a strict day/night situation. Countless diurnal birds will certainly doze off throughout the course of the day while they digest your food. Other birds, choose shorebirds, herons and also some ducks, aren"t necessarily tied to the increasing and setup of the sun. They also have to pay fist to the rhythms that the tides. If the tide is far better for feeding in ~ night, then that"s as soon as they head out. Therefore go inspect the neighborhood parking lots and parks tonight, Polly. You could find some resting gulls.

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And if you occur to view Barbara Walters Rollerblading by, tell she that i owe she an ice cream.

Artwork by Catherine Clark

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