Asleep at the wheel?
Can you imagine spending nearly all of your life in the air? The common swift doesn’t have to - it just does! From the day this bird learns to fly, it almost never touches the ground voluntarily - it eats, drinks, mates, and may even sleep while flying. While sleep walking can be problematic in humans, many birds have the ability to enter a state called unihemispheric slow-wave sleep, where one half of the brain sleeps as the other remains alert. This method of “sleeping with one eye open,” is a great way to avoid becoming another animal’s meal, and has led to the suspicion that these birds, who almost never willingly land, also sleep while in flight!
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