Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Migrating birds can’t control themselves

Date:
July 30, 2010
Source:
BioMed Central Limited
Summary:
During the spring and fall migratory seasons, sparrows become significantly less capable of resisting temptation. Researchers investigated impulse control and sleep in white-crowned sparrows during migratory and non-migratory seasons. During migratory periods, the birds slept very little and became more impulsive, but sleep loss itself was not entirely to blame for their impulsivity.

During the spring and fall migratory seasons, sparrows become significantly less capable of resisting temptation. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Neuroscience investigated impulse control and sleep in white-crowned sparrows during migratory and non-migratory seasons. During migratory periods, the birds slept very little and became more impulsive, but sleep loss itself was not entirely to blame for their impulsivity.

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers studied the effects of migratory status and sleep deprivation on the ability of a group of sparrows to master the urge to peck at a food-giving button.

According to study director Ruth Benca, "In the wild, despite marked reductions in apparent opportunity to sleep, birds continue to successfully engage in prolonged flight, complex navigation and predator evasion during migration. In the laboratory, we've previously found that birds in the migratory state can learn to peck at a switch for food as well as birds during non-migratory periods. In contrast, in this study we demonstrate that, relative to birds in the non-migratory state, they struggle to learn when not to peck."

This apparent hyperactivity during the migratory period may be linked to the fact that the migrating birds' sleep periods become divorced from the light/dark cycle they follow during the non-migratory seasons of Summer and Winter; separate experiments showed that sleep deprivation alone does not cause this loss of control. Short sleep duration in the summer is also not associated with increased impulsivity.

According to Benca, "It is conceivable that the temporal fragmentation of migratory sleep plays a role in the migration-specific loss of behavioral inhibition. Whether the inability to inhibit pecking is related to a general failure of inhibition, a distorted sense of time, inattention to salient cues, or some other underlying mechanism is not entirely clear."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central Limited. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Stephanie G Jones, Elliott M Paletz, William H Obermeyer, Ciaran T Hannan and Ruth M Benca. Seasonal influences on sleep and executive function in the migratory White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii). BMC Neuroscience, 2010; (in press)

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central Limited. "Migrating birds can’t control themselves." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100728193559.htm>.
BioMed Central Limited. (2010, July 30). Migrating birds can’t control themselves. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100728193559.htm
BioMed Central Limited. "Migrating birds can’t control themselves." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100728193559.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins