Have you ever woken up in the early morning from birdsong? If so, then perhaps you thought it was just a flock of birds wishing each other good morning. Well, it turns out birds sing in the morning for several reasons. In short, there is a purpose in their songs.
What do the birds say when they sing so loud in the morning? Why do they sing at such a time of day? Do male and female birds sing in the morning? Read on to find out the answers to these questions and to learn more about this phenomenon known as the dawn chorus.
Why do birds sing in the morning?
Male birds sing in the morning to show their excellent health and strength. Many of them start singing in the dark or at sunrise. At this time, the birds did not have the opportunity to search for food. Unsurprisingly, they are low on energy. After all, they hadn’t eaten since the evening before. The male, singing in a loud and strong voice before eating his first meal, shows the females that he will make a strong helper.
To attract females
A male with a strong voice in the early morning will attract the attention of many female birds. Females want the healthiest males to keep their babies healthy. Having healthy babies, also known as chicks, means that the bird population will continue to grow and thrive.
To defend your territory
The second reason males sing in the morning is to defend their territory. When they sing a loud song, they make it clear to other males in the area that they are not welcome visitors. The loud song shows the dominance of the male bird over other weaker and less healthy rival birds.
To protect your young
The male bird needs to guard its nest of chicks. This is another purpose of the early morning song. When a male sings, he is essentially warning other males in the area to stay away from his nest. Male and female birds have a strong instinct to protect their young in any way they can.
Birds sing when it’s quiet
Singing early in the morning gives the male the opportunity to share his song at a time when there is very little noise. Crickets and other insects chirping in the weeds are not as loud as during the day. In addition, there is usually very little traffic noise depending on the location. In addition, most people are still asleep and this does not increase the noise level. The male bird wants to be the center of attention, and this goal is easier to achieve at the very beginning of the day!
Some male birds sit on the tallest branches of a tree, on a rooftop, on a building, or on a telephone pole to transmit their voice even further into the environment. Being so high, the male is more visible to nearby females. This makes it easier for a man and a woman to connect. This is another way to get an edge over other male birds singing in the area.
Each male’s goal is to be the loudest and strongest voice heard in the morning.
Singing birds before the start of the working day
Birds spend most of the day looking for insects, building or repairing a nest. However, it is too dark now to look for food or work in the nest before sunrise. Thus, early morning is the most practical time for males to sing.
There is another important factor to consider. When a male sings so loudly, he does something that attracts the attention of not only females, but also predators. Consequently, singing before sunrise allows the male bird to remain somewhat hidden from domestic cats, hawks, snakes and other predators.
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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is the morning choir?
When the male birds start singing very loudly before sunrise, it is called the dawn chorus. There are so many male bird voices that it sounds like a chorus of human chants.
Do some birds sing earlier than others?
Yes. Some of the birds known to sing early in the morning include pigeons, thrushes, wrens, robins, songbirds, and blackbirds. These birds fly out especially early because they start foraging and other activities earlier than other birds. In addition, pigeons and robins are especially hardy birds, so they have the power to raise their voices very early.
In contrast, sparrows and finches are active later in the day, so they start singing shortly after sunrise.
Interestingly, biologists have noticed that birds living in or near cities start singing earlier than in previous years. They believe that the reason for this is that the singing of birds is drowned out by morning traffic in the urban environment. Birds want to be heard from behind cars, buses and trucks, so they start singing earlier!
Is the chorus of birdsong heard at other times of the day?
Although birds sing and call out to each other throughout the day, the powerful singing period known as the morning chorus does not occur at any other time of the day.
After sunrise and throughout the day, birds actively seek food, build or tend their nests. They must use their energy to complete these necessary tasks before nightfall.
What does the morning choir look like outside of North America?
For example, the morning choir takes place in an Ecuadorian forest in South America. Biologists noted that birds living on the highest branches of trees are the first to sing in the morning. In addition, these birds had a common feature – large eyes. It is believed that these birds sense the morning light earlier than the birds below them. This is why they start singing at an earlier hour.
In countries such as Ireland and England, male birds sing in the early morning, much like they do in the United States.
Does the morning choir take place all year round?
No. The morning choir takes place in spring and summer. This is due to the fact that the mating period for birds is from March to July. So, male birds are focused on finding a mate, creating territory and protecting it.
While birds still sing and communicate with each other in winter, it is not as strong or relevant as it is in spring. Birds that do not fly to a warmer place for the winter must conserve their energy and strength in order to withstand low temperatures.
Do female birds ever participate in the morning choir?
Women can participate with their own song in the morning chorus. But their voices are likely to be drowned out by male birds.
What can you do if you don’t want to hear the morning chorus every morning?
Sometimes in the morning it is nice to hear the dawn chorus of birds in the street in front of the house or in the backyard. At other times, all this singing can prevent you from falling asleep again!
One thing you can do to avoid hearing the morning choir is to flip the ceiling fan or portable fan in the room to drown out the chanting. It’s amazing how soothing a fan can be in a quiet room. Or, if you have a car that makes white noise, you can turn it on the night before to drown out the birdsong from your yard.
Another option is to install double windows to muffle sounds from outside.
Wearing earplugs is a very easy way to block out the bird chorus in the spring and summer.
Another solution to consider is to remove bird feeders from the yard. If you want to continue feeding the birds, you can move the feeder to the far end of the yard or to another location away from the bedroom windows. If you move the feeder, birds will not congregate too close to your windows, where they can be heard in the early morning.
If you have trees with branches that are very close to your home, you can prune them. This will prevent your feathered friends from sitting on branches next to your windows and sharing their songs. However, if you are a big fan of the dawn chorus, let these branches grow!