The one thing which all mammals, reptiles, and birds need alike is a night of good sound sleep. It provides the much-needed rest after a long day and recharges our energy levels for the coming day.
Sleep is an integral part of our lives and we sometimes forget that other living creatures need it just as much as we do – and this includes all our pets!
Growing up I would often see birds asleep at night on my balcony. They would perch on the railing in sound sleep. They were always gone before I woke up the next morning. I was in awe of their punctuality and thought perhaps the early bird does indeed catch the worm!
The sleeping habits of birds intrigued me until I got a small group of finches as my companions. These tiny and beautiful birds would stay busy throughout the days with all sorts of antics. Soon after dusk their chirping and chattering would cease and the birds would fall peacefully asleep.
I realized the importance of the sleeping habits, routine, and schedule of these birds. Along my journey, I also learned a few handy tips to help your birds settle in and stay healthy and happy members of your family!
Sleeping Habits of Finches
Finches are what are called diurnal birds. In simple words, finches are active throughout the day and sleep at night, just like humans! The natural sleeping pattern for any diurnal birds or animals involves settling into sleep after the sun sets and waking up as the sun rises.
In the wild, finches are active during the day, performing tasks such as feeding, mating, building nests, grooming, and taking care of their young. As the sun sets, the intensity of physical activity decreases and they settle down on their perches and eventually fall asleep.
They follow similar sleep patterns in captivity too. It is up to you, the owner, to ensure a comfortable sleeping atmosphere for your little pets.
How many hours of sleep do Finches need?┃What time do finches sleep at night?
In the wild, finches sleep at dusk and wake up at dawn. This encompasses around 10 to 12 hours. They mimic the natural sleeping pattern in captivity as well. The little birds need 10 to 12 hours of peaceful, undisturbed sleep, just as they would get in the wild. Since they spend about 12 to 14 hours a day active and at work, they need 10 to 12 hours of sleep every day to stay healthy.
It is important to remember that pet birds are affected by their owner’s schedules. If you are awake at night and all the lights are on, your pet finches will very likely be affected by this unnatural light. They will not be able to sleep in bright light or a loud or noisy room.
If they are allowed to follow their instincts, finches will go to sleep around 6 or 7 pm. But since these little birds are highly affected by any change in their living conditions and adapt to the patterns of their owners, pet finches are more likely to sleep later at night.
Related Read: How To Cope With The Loss Of My Pet Bird
Where do wild finches sleep at night?
Finches do tend to sleep in the trees where they spend most of their day. This ensures that they know the area well and are comfortable enough to fall asleep. They may fall asleep on protected perches or may occupy small holes in the tree trunk. This ensures safety.
If the finch has a nest, it may sleep there. Mother birds with eggs or small chicks spend most of their time in these nests, this includes sleeping.
On very cold and snowy nights, the American Goldfinch burrows into the snow to create a kind of small, warm place to sleep. The burrow ensures insulation and keeps the bird from freezing. Often, they roost in coniferous trees in large groups of goldfinches.
How and where do house finches sleep at night?
In the wild, finches find small holes in tree bark to sleep or they find a simply protected perch. Similarly, house finches will face no trouble in sleeping on a perch in their cage. They tend to sleep in groups and so a finch will be most comfortable if it has its friends around.
You may think of arranging a nest for finches but that usually is not necessary unless you have a pair of mates.
How to help your finches to sleep comfortably?
Designate a fixed place for them in your room. The familiarity will make them comfortable. Additionally, finches tend to be disturbed by artificial light.
Since, in the wild, they sleep as soon as the sun sets, i.e. when it’s dark, they will expect a similar atmosphere. So, try to keep the lights off. Too much light will create a day-like atmosphere, which means they won’t sleep.
Avoid making loud and sudden noises. This is important for any bird to feel safe in your home. Many small birds like finches go into shock when they are woken up by loud noises and this may even result in their death.
Try to sleep in the same room as your finch. Finches are known to be extremely sociable birds. They may not feel safe or comfortable if you leave them alone.
In the wild, they depend on their peers for company and safety. At home, this responsibility is transferred to you.
Do finches need to be covered at night?
In the wild, finches sleep in the open air, without cover. So it goes without saying that finches don’t need to be covered in captivity either. This may prove detrimental because it may restrict the flow of fresh air. Covering the cage could suffocate them and hence it should be avoided.
You can hang their cages, or place them on the floor or a desk. Just make sure that this location is not exposed to cold or hot drafts.
However, finches do need to sleep in an area without artificial lighting. If you cannot ensure this, you can cover the cage with a cloth to cut off light but make sure there is proper ventilation.
Can finches sleep when they are flying?
Though there are some large migratory birds like frigatebirds that can sleep during the flight, finches can not do so. It is unclear why birds sleep during flights. Perhaps it is so that they can get a few moments of rest during their long and tireless migrations.
Finches however and small birds. Though they do migrate, they can not sleep while they are flying.
What will happen if my finches don’t sleep well?
Like most mammals, reptiles, and birds, sleep is incredibly important for finches. They need 10-12 hours of sleep daily. If they stay awake for longer hours it may affect their physical and mental health.
If finches do not get the required amount of sleep, it may cause them to have lower energy levels. You may find them slow and somewhat lazy. Additionally, natural processes such as digestion may be affected.
A study was made on the sleeping habits of zebra finches and it was found that these birds have a sleeping pattern that is similar to that of humans. As humans have 4 main stages of sleep-wake, light sleep, deep sleep, REM; zebra finches too have such stages.
It was observed that zebra finches have the stages of slow-wave sleep (SWS), rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and intermediate sleep.
The quantity of sleep that the finches were receiving was found to be linked to their memories – just like humans! Finches which got proper sleep were able to retain the tricks they were learning much better than those who weren’t sleeping enough.
Do finches sleep during the day?
Finches are diurnal birds, which means they stay active during the day and sleep at night. Hence, finches do not sleep during the day. If your finches are sleeping a lot during the day it mostly indicates that there is something wrong.
If a finch is behaving unusually lethargic or sleeping a lot during the day, it may be unwell. If you make such an observation, it is advised to make sure your finch is getting proper sleep at night. If the problem continues, your bird may be ill and you should immediately visit a vet.
Finches, being incredibly active and vocal birds need a good night’s rest to get ready for another day of fun antics. Hence, it is important for you, the owner, to ensure that your birds have a conducive environment for your finches to sleep in.
Since their natural schedule can be disrupted by artificial light, loud noises, and lack of air ventilation, it is best to plan and ensure that the birds will not have to face these situations. Proper rest is important to avoid any physical or mental ailments.
If your finch isn’t sleeping at night or is sleeping too much during the day, it may be indicating some illness. So, as a pet owner, you can take great care of your birds just by making sure they are getting the sleep they need!