The other night, I happened to be on a bicycle at a northerly latitude. Not only had the last light finally faded by 11.30 pm, but the glimmer of dawn began not long after 2.00 am. (Don’t ask why we were out on a bike at those hours). Soon after 2.00 am the birds began chattering, flapping about, doing their thing. I felt really sorry for them, tied as they are to the patterns of night and day. For weeks on end, they have really short nights, barely three hours’ sleep. And their days are incredibly long. With all that sleep deprivation, I wondered: Do they get cranky? Do they make tired mistakes when flying? What about the long term effects – weight gain, heart problems, high blood pressure? Do any birds actually go to bed early and sleep in?

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