Sleepy Little Owlets

A new study from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and the University of Lausanne brings eye-opening revelation: Baby birds’ sleep patterns are similar to those of baby mammals—including people.

The study focused specifically on barn owls in the wild. Scientists tracked sleep patterns for both adult and baby owls, who are called owlets.

Like mammals, birds have both REM and non-REM sleep periods. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement, and it’s the phase in which we do most of our dreaming.

The scientists also found that periods of REM and non-REM sleep changed for the owls depending on age. This also happens with humans. About half of newborn humans’ sleep is REM sleep. The figure is only about 20 to 25 percent for adults.

So, what do adorable owlets dream about?

We can only guess.

Image by Fabrizio Sergio from EurekAlert!

Image by Fabrizio Sergio from EurekAlert!

 

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