Saturday, October 27, 2007

Birds Sing In Their Sleep

© Donna L. Watkins - American Goldfinch
Scientists believe the birds practice songs in their dreams, which pays dividends in the end, despite causing a temporary "loss of direction." Zebra finches - like many song birds - go through a critical developmental period of "brain plasticity" when their brains are ripe for song learning. They only engage in singing lessons during the day - at night they sleep. But researchers have noticed that, for juvenile birds, something interesting happens during slumber.

An important clue is that brain areas involved in singing are active during the night. "Neurons which are activated when the bird is singing are activated when the bird is sleeping," explained Dr Deregnaucourt. "So it is possible that the bird is dreaming about his song during the night."

Read the entire article.

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