Monday, October 20, 2008

The Pineal Gland, Budgie Circadian Rhythms, and Other Thoughts

On the post about the Budgies Professionalism, a comment was left:

From Nacly Dog...."Maybe they're taking a vacation.   Can budgies change a circadian rhythm set point?"

This is a very interesting idea!

It definitely was a bit dark on the day when the budgies were quiet (due to thunderstorms).  I wonder if the budgies are particularly sensitive to light and dark?  Birds have a particular connection to the pineal gland.  

The pineal gland affects circadian rhythms in almost all animals.  In birds, it not only affects sleep (it makes melatonin) but also is thought to help with magnetic determination of flying directions.  Because of its role in detecting dark and light in some animals, it is sometimes called the "third eye".  Perhaps the pineal gland is important in budgie professionalism, and budgie vacations.  Apparently bird sleep-wake cycles can be set not only with light, but also with the sounds of bird songs.  There clearly is an interaction to explore between dark/light/sleep/wake in birds.  And perhaps we are more dependent on these cycles then our modern societal pressures may allow us to admit.  And denying them may not be good for us.  Next time is is rainy, I may just give in and sleep late.

1 comment:

Carl said...

Maybe attaching magnets to my head would help to cure jet lag! In any case, magnetic headbands would be a great product to stock in those cheesy little shops in airports.

The Happy Couple

The Happy Couple
Sutcliffe and Maryann in early 2007