Zugunruhe, and The Snow-Woman by Angela Sorby

Feeling my zugunruhe today…

standingoutinmyfield

Zugunruhe is a German word referring to the restlessness and anxiety observed in migratory animals when they are kept enclosed during a normal migratory period.  For example, if you keep a migratory bird in a cage, it will start to get restless at the time of year when the companion members of its species are migrating.

It’s a fascinating phenomenon, and has been strongly linked to day length (i.e. scientists can trigger zugunruhe by manipulating the amount of light birds receive).

Zugunruhe is yet another example of a circannual rhythm, or a rhythm that changes according to the time of year.  Other notable examples?  Hibernation or torpor in animals, leaf fall in deciduous trees, cycles in mating and reproduction, etc.

Well, I’m a migratory animal.  The five years of my graduate work will be the longest I have ever lived in one place, and, as I approach the end of…

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