Do Mother Birds Sleep in the Nest with Their Babies(5 Facts)

The answer will surprise you. A bird mother hardly sleeps with her babies in the nest. They usually sleep outside the nest in a close and convenient position to guard their babies.

They sleep outside the nest to provide ample space for the babies to sleep peacefully. However, the baby’s mother will sleep with the baby in the nest on cold nights.

Whenever you see a mother bird at its nest, you will see it awake and parenting its babies. You might see it feeding the babies, grooming them, maintaining the nest, or even communicating with the babies and the father.

There are other reasons for the mother birds to sleep outside but close to their nest. So, let’s jump into finding the actual reasons for mother birds sleeping outside the nest and how they take care of their babies.

Do Mother Birds Sleep in the Nest with Their Babies

Birds have many interesting character traits that vary from one species to another. Yet, there’s a common characteristic about all mother birds.

Yes, almost every mother bird will sleep right outside their nest instead of sleeping inside the nest with their babies.

At first glance, this scenario may appear unusual because we think a mother will stay as close to her babies as possible for safety and caring purposes.

Nonetheless, mother birds don’t work like how we think about them.

They will sleep outside the nest so that their babies get ample space for sleep at night. It is important since most birds can hardly build more than a tiny nest.

So, when there are multiple babies, the nest may feel congested for them. Also, with a tighter space, the chance of the babies being suffocated under their mother’s body increases.

Although you may not believe it, many bird babies die due to suffocation under their mother’s body. So, the mother bird stays right outside the nest to avoid suffocating its babies.

Also, it offers ample space and better sleeping conditions for babies.

Why Do Birds Mothers Sleep Away From Their Nests?

Why Do Birds Mothers Sleep Away From Their Nests?

We have described that the mother birds sleep away from their nest during the night to offer the babies ample space. But are there other reasons for the mother to sleep away from the nest?

Firstly, a bird’s mother sleeps outside the nest for safety purposes. As they sleep outside the nest, they can observe around the nest better.

So, if they see any predators coming close to the nest, they can take quick preventive action.

Also, as mentioned earlier, sleeping outside the nest for mothers decreases the chance of suffocating the babies with their body weight. Plus, babies can sleep peacefully without being congested.

You may wonder how the babies get warmed if the mother stays outside at night. The answer lies in the construction of the nest that keeps the babies warm.

A nest is built to warm up the babies:

Most birds build their nests in a way that keeps their babies warm for a specific time. So, the bird’s mother doesn’t need to stay inside the nest and provide warmth to the babies.

As birds build their nests, they use straws that work as insulators. So, the interior temperature of the nest will be 2 to 3 degrees higher than the outside temperature.

Thus, even if the bird’s mother stays away from the nest for a few hours, babies will still feel the warmth. However, during the cold days in winter, the mother will stay and sleep inside the nest. They do it to offer the proper warmth to their chicks during wintertime.

The nest offers coziness and safety to the chicks even without their mother.

Where Does The Bird Mother Sleep At Night?

Where Does The Bird Mother Sleep At Night?

You have already learned that the mother stays and sleeps away from her chicks at night. So, you might be keen to know, “Where does the mother bird sleep at night?”

In short, the mother bird sleeps at a convenient place close to its nest at night. They will sleep on a nearby branch of the tree, under a bush, in dense vegetation, .etc. So, you will need to look at their habitat closely to find their sleeping place at night.

The following section will discuss the sleeping location of a few common birds we often see in our neighborhood.

  • Waterbirds will almost always sleep close to the water bodies. It includes herons, ducks, geese, egrets, etc.
  • They even build their nests around the water bodies because it easily gives them access to food.
  • They use vibration around them and the nest to detect predators.
  • Shorebirds stay in a flock at night.
  • You may see them sleeping in the open area of sea beaches or nearby hillocks.
  • They usually build their nests in the caves near the seashore and live just outside it in a flock.
  • Birds of prey build their nest high from the ground.
  • It includes higher tree branches, the top of the hills, etc.
  • They stay and sleep right next to their nest with their babies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do birds sleep in other birds’ nests?

No, birds won’t usually sleep in the nests of other birds. They live in the nest during the hatching period of the eggs.

Alternatively, they sleep outside the nest when the babies are born. But they never sleep in other birds’ nests.

Will a mother bird come back if the nest is touched?

Mother birds can sense the touches or smells of others in their nest and the babies. So, even if you find a nest and touch the babies inside it, the mother bird won’t abandon its babies like cat mothers.

So, when you find a baby bird falling to the ground, you can rescue it and place it quickly back in the nest.


Bird mother sleeps outside their nest after giving birth to their babies. They stay continuously within the nest during the hatching or incubation period.

Once the babies are born, the mother will stay with them during the daytime. They sleep outside the nest at night to ensure that their babies get ample space without any suffocation.

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