Table of Contents: July 2004

White-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii) follow the migratory route indicated by the yellow arrow along the coast of North America. How these and other song birds sleep during their long journeys, which occur mostly at night, has remained a mystery. Benca and colleagues demonstrate that white-crowned sparrows greatly reduce sleep time during the migratory season, without experiencing deficits in cognitive performance. (See Rattenborg et al.)

Historically, migratory flights, which occur at night when songbirds are normally sleeping, have been studied by counting birds that can be seen crossing the face of the moon (click here to see animation - 1.8MB AVI, 1.6MB MOV, or 1.6MB RV).

Image Credit: Cover image and animation created by Pigorsch Media Design, Inc., using a photograph by Russell C. Hansen


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