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FEATURE ARTICLE

Avian Migration: The Ultimate Red-Eye Flight

Birds that migrate at night enter a state of sleepless mania and gorge on foods by day, behaviors mediated by their biological clocks

Paul Bartell, Ashli Moore

2013-01MooreF1.jpgClick to Enlarge ImageMany species of passerine bird migrate at night, which requires a complete turn-around in their circadian rhythm. In order to cover thousands of miles, their bodies shift into a metabolic state that would be considered obese and diabetic by human standards. Nocturnal migratory birds push the bounds of what we think is humanly possible: During migration, they stay awake night and day without cognitive loss. And they gorge themselves but perform like top atheletes. How and why do they do it?


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