All babies are born with heads too big for their bodies, but baby owls are so heavy that they have to sleep face down.
The image first surfaced online as a bit of a meme because, you know, it has a bit of a ‘go home owl, you’re drunk’ vibe.
Because the image of the owl lying face down had its validity questioned, it wasn’t long before others posed pictures of baby owls doing the same thing.
While the reliability of the source was first questioned, it turns out to be actually true with more pictures of young owls lying down to sleep having surfaced, making it all the more amazing.
I've been trying to find the original photographer for this image, but no luck. It's obviously a captive bird. Regardless, yes, young nestling owls do sleep, or rest lying down. Their heads are too heavy for their bodies. Here are some saw-whets from my Ph.D. research 🙂 pic.twitter.com/9xQ2SA1IPI
— Heather Hinam, Ph.D. (@SecondNatureMB) June 3, 2019
The picture below was captioned: “I’ve just discovered that baby owls sleep face down like THIS because their heads are too heavy. Also, I don’t think I’ve seen owl legs before….”
Is this a normal way for baby owls to sleep?
According to IFL Science, adult owls are able to sleep sitting up because their bodies are fully developed but because young owls’ heads are simply so large, they have no option but to lie face down when they want some shut-eye.
Twitter user Mika McKinnon fact-checked the original picture and added more adorable pictures of sleeping owls to the interwebs, writing that as far as she could tell, it was true, but she asked for an owl expert to confirm, just in case.
Teenage owl sleep habits are way outside my lane, but I found (less hilarious) confirming accounts.
— Mika McKinnon (@mikamckinnon) June 3, 2019
A listener of the society’s podcast BirdNote told them how he’d discovered two baby owls and was advised to observe them nap. The listener was then delighted to discover that the two babies napped on their stomachs with their head turned to the side. While it was less of a face plant – I’m sure it was just as cute.
“Their naps are short, and when they are asleep, they do not like to be awakened, even to be fed.”
I think we can all relate to that.