When migrating south do birds take breaks?


How can they fly non-stop for thousands of miles? Do they stop and take breaks?

In: Other

I may be wrong but I believe this was answered recently.
I believe some birds are able to turn off half their brain at a time, in order to rest the other half. Or they can sleep for a few moments and wake for a few moments, rinse and repeat.

Their structures also allow them to stay up without using absurd amounts of energy. Their bones are hollow, and the way some birds increase their oxygen intake allows them to be much much lighter than humans. (I don’t know enough to go super detailed so hopefully someone else can)

Yes. They stop to eat and sleep. And then they take off again in the morning and keep going.

I learned recently that some hummingbirds also sometimes migrate. Amazing they can find enough flowers along the way to sustain themselves.

Absolutely. A lot of bird hunting takes place during their migrations. They usually will stop in lakes and stuff along the way

“Yet the most incredible feat of deliberate sleep deprivation belongs to that of birds during transoceanic migration. During this climate-driven race across thousands of miles, entire flocks will fly for many more hours than is normal. As a result, they lose much of the stationary opportunity for plentiful sleep. But even here, the brain has found an ingenious way to obtain sleep. In-flight, migrating birds will grab remarkably brief periods of sleep lasting only seconds in duration. These ultra-power naps are just sufficient to avert the ruinous brain and body deficits that would otherwise ensue from prolonged total sleep deprivation.”

Source: Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker, PhD. Pg 66.

Dolphins and whales do have the ability to have 1 half of the brain get Non-REM sleep while the other half is totally awake, and switch once the one half gets enough sleep. And birds can do this as well!

“Things get even more interesting when birds group together…The flock will first line up in a row. With the exception of the birds at each end of the line, the rest of the group will allow both halves of the brain to indulge in sleep. Those at the far left and right ends of the row aren’t so lucky. They will enter deep sleep with just one half of the brain (opposing in each), leaving the corresponding left and right eye of each bird wide open. In doing so, they provide full panoramic threat detection for the entire group, maximizing the total number of brain halves that can sleep within the flock. At some point, the two end-guards will stand up, rotate 180 degrees, and sit back down, allowing the other side of their respective brains to enter deep sleep.”

Same book, pg 64.

It depends on the species a bit. Some will rest at night and pause to eat, usually in big flocks. Others will do it all in one go and sort of meditate/half sleep on the wing, loosing tons of body mass as they go.