Songbirds that pack on as much as 50 percent of their body weight and sleep very little before migrating exhibit increased physical performance required for migration, according to researchers in the college, who published their findings in Scientific Reports.

"Imagine if you became morbidly obese before running a marathon, you didn't sleep for a few days before competing--and yet you performed so well that you won," said Paul Bartell, associate professor of avian biology. "Then, consider that you were protected from the cardiovascular and metabolic disease that normally would result from either obesity or long-term sleep deprivation. These are among the amazing changes that occur in white-throated sparrows to allow migration."

--Jeff Mulhollem