Lately, a few owls have been going viral without putting any effort into it. All they had to do was take a nap! Yes, they did it face down. Yes, they looked unbelievably cute and as if they just got back from a night of heavy drinking at the same time. And yes, probably 99% of people wouldn't even have known about it if it wasn't for the internet... OK, maybe their popularity is perfectly reasonable; maybe I'm just jealous of it.
Journalist Mark Rees is responsible for arguably the most successful sleeping owl PR campaign. A pic he tweeted has received over 119K likes, catapulting the series to Internet stardom on all sorts of platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Imgur, and, of course, Reddit. Continue scrolling and check out the irresistible birds that everyone is obsessing over for yourself. Chances are, you'll release at least a dozen "w" worth of "aww".
To be honest, we couldn't back up or dismiss Rees' explanation that the young owls do so because their heads are too heavy. All that we know is that they really do nap like this. The National Audubon Society, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to conservation, for example, published a heartwarming story about two Barred Owlets who had fallen out of their nest. After the babies were put back into the tree, their rescuers observed how they were recovering.
"Keeping their talons tightly gripped on a branch, the owlets lay down on their stomachs, turned their heads to the side, and fell asleep. Their naps are short, and when they are asleep, they do not like to be awakened, even to be fed," the article said.
Interestingly, a young owl doesn’t fall out of the tree while it snoozes because it holds onto the branch with its back toe, the hallux. "The hallux will not open or let go until the bird bends its leg."
Sadly, before they can fly, most owlets' will to explore their surroundings gets the best of them and they often end up on the ground, sometimes dropping right in front of us.