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Do Mother Hummingbirds Sleep?

November 15, 2016

Hummingbirds have voracious appetites, eating the human equivalent of an entire refrigerator full of food every day.   Even sleeping hummingbirds have huge metabolic demands that must be met to survive the night.   They conserve energy by going into nightly torpor, drastically lowering their metabolic rate and body temperature.  The hummingbird behavior shown here is torpor, and is no cause for alarm.

But can nesting females incubate their eggs well using torpor?  A group of researchers, including LMU’s Center for Urban Resilience, aim to find out by using remote thermal sensing technology to run a comparative analysis between multiple nests in different micro environments.  Hummingbirds provide an optimal species for study of the physiological mechanisms animals use to cope with extreme limitations.  And a better understanding of these mechanisms may have broader application in medical technology.

If you wish to help, the project leaders are crowd-sourcing the purchase of equipment needed for the study, with a goal of $4900.  [Jane Beseda]



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