Monday, August 3, 2020

Baby Owls Sleep Facedown Because Their Heads are Too Heavy

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You know what’s more adorable than a baby owl? How about a baby owl sleeping? That’s right baby owls sleep face down because their heads are too heavy. It may look like they just passed out after a night of crazy drinking but the reality is that they are just taking a little nap.

Not only do they sleep facing down but they do not like to be woken up. Even to eat. Just like a human baby you have to wait for them to be ready, which is why you see that little feeder mouse in the bottom right of the picture.

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You may wonder then, “How do they not fall out of trees?” Well that’s because their back toe, the hallux, holds onto the branch. So that way they can lay down and twist their tiny head to the side. Just like the picture below.

Now most birds are born with a normal sized heads but for these little owls sleeping upright is just not happening. Not until they are older anyway. It takes them a good couple of months to be able to balance out the weight and even then some like to lean up against a branch.

Photo by Kathy Munsel, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (C.C. 2.0)
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