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Posts tagged “Rattenborg

Protect

Her curtains are drawn, as ducks convene
The stage is set for rest and dreams;

Most will slumber through and through
Others sacrifice sleep, to protect their crew.

~ Robyn Lee

The following is a bit of duck trivia that I found fascinating, demonstrating how, even at the most primitive level, living beings instinctually develop systems to protect their own. If you examine my photo above, you can see which ducks are ‘protecting’ this evening.  Enjoy!

Much Love ~ RL

Dr. Niels Rattenborg has studied sleep patterns of birds, including ducks. He monitored the brain waves of ducks as they sleep and learned some interesting things. Ducks often spend the night together as a group, often sleeping in a row. The ducks on the end of the row or outside of the group are easily spooked by any movement nearby.

They sleep with their eye away from the group open, while the other eye is closed. Rattenborg found that one of the hemispheres of the brains of these outside ducks was functioning at 100% capacity while the other hemisphere was in sleep mode. Apparently the duck has the ability to sleep with half the brain at a time asleep while the other half is fully responsive to the environment.

There is an obvious advantage to this system. Not only is the duck protecting itself by being constantly awake on the side that danger might come from, but the duck is also protecting the other ducks in the center.

References:
Discover, May 1999
Scientific American, May 1999