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  • Dhiraj D Sharma

Where do birds sleep tonight?


Green bee-eater resting on the treetop.

The birds wake up with a pleasant chirping, the chitter twitter loud enough to wake us up but where do they disappear in the dark. I wondered where they go back with the wings. Do they fly back home? Why do they fly back home when they have wings to fly. Ever wondered where they sleep and rest as I only learned about it on a forest walk recently. It was about 7:30 PM the silence of the forest surrounded us as we decided to walk a little and witness if there was anything for our luck.

Indian giant flying squirrel - Eyes that glow in the dark!

The forest road we walked was a lifeline connecting a small village to another village people walk here to reach their place, a few drive in the same direction some try getting a drop as we witnessed. People knew that we were visitors here as we were accompanied by a popular guy in the community going around in the area for a decade or two now recording the species found in the region, educating the school & college students through his wildlife photo exhibition. His collection has some of the rarest species one get to see in one’s lifetime. To name a few: Slender loris, Flying squirrel, Nightjar, number of butterflies, bee, birds, snakes, spiders, and everything around in the area. The resource person was able to hear something in the silence, stopped us to observe a lot of time as we just walked a bit we saw something in the dark, he would then throw light at it & we would see the eyes glow in the dark. It definitely was an awwwww moment. It was a flying squirrel that we saw gliding down from one branch to other & we also saw the nightjar on the road.

Nightjar was seen on the road.

At one point in time, we saw a vehicle stop because the nightjar had sat down on the road & we were not late to witness it. For me, the most important thing was to learn where birds rest at night. This only came to slow an hour into the walk as we were about to exit. He also showed us how conscious and observant one should be while we walk in the woods to the end. He found fresh bird poop that resembled an artwork to be painted white on the newly laid tarmac. He was quick to call us and notice the bird was resting on the treetop as he showed us in the light I was amazed. I now had an answer to my long-lasting question - where do they rest/sleep at night. The flock was just as if we friends sat closely together on the hilltop to beat the chills. I only hope we did not spoil their sleep that night. The flock of green bee-eater it was. The image was loud and clear to me that they don’t have a nest to sleep in like homes for us & when I was back home with aww I began to read more about it.


Where Do Birds Sleep at Night?


Birds are good at finding shelter to sleep, referring to birding experts birds that raise their young inside holes in trees, and sleep in cavities at night. I also saw the Indian Rock Pigeon resting now on the pipelines that passed at the exteriors of the building right opposite our home. Birds find protected spots inside dense foliage in trees and shrubs away from their potential predators.


They also perch close to the trunk. Birds living out in open fields or shores may lower their body down where they are, facing the wind. I found in my study that birds sleep while they fly and the phenomenon that they use half their brain at a time to sleep during soaring or gliding flight was a wonder to me as I discovered that they are not asleep as we sleep but are on guard round the clock.


Reference:

  1. https://www.birdsandblooms.com/birding/birding-basics/birds-sleep-night/

  2. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/surprising-ways-that-animals-sleep#:~:text=Frigate%20birds%20fly%20for%20months,during%20soaring%20or%20gliding%20flight.

  3. https://www.thespruce.com/how-birds-sleep-386468

  4. https://www.birds.cornell.edu/k12/do-birds-sleep/


Green-bee eater, Nightjar, and the Indian giant flying squirrel

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