Why Do Birds Chirp in the Morning?


Have you, like us, woken up groggy on a cold, winter early morning and heard the birds outside your window sing the dawn chorus? Do you also wonder why they are cheerfully chirping into the sunrise on a Monday morning?

While it is a melody to the ears and of course a much better sound to wake up to than a horrendous alarm, you can’t help but think about what they are so happy about.

Our experts soared high to find out why do birds chirp in the morning hours and what it means. Continue reading to find out more. 

What Time Do Birds Wake Up?

Birds Chirping in the Morning
Birds Chirping in the Morning

Birds have a very, very early start to the day and are often awake early morning, much before the sunrise. Of course, different breeds and bird species wake up at different times, depending on where they live and the season they’re in.

You can hear the bird songs around 4 in the morning, or an hour or so prior to sunrise. The minute there is the faintest ray of sun visible in the sky, birds are wide awake. This is indeed a good piece of information for bird feeders.

Why Do Birds Chirp in the Morning? 

Birds Singing Early in the Morning
Birds Singing Early in the Morning

Birds sing (or chirp) in the morning to let other birds know of their presence, as this is when they are the most comfortable. This is because, owing to the dark sky, it becomes difficult for them to be spotted by predators.

While very few species of birds choose to look for food in the morning, the ones that do, rely on singing to communicate with their friends and family on their hunt. Individual birds also sing in the morning (sometimes even a loud song) in order to attract other males or potential mates. 

What Birds Sing in the Early Morning?

Sparrows
Sparrows

Depending on where you live, there could be different birds (most species) that bless your morning with their singing, even wild birds. After one bird starts chirping, the others bird join, much like a choir (also know as the dawn chorus).

Woodpigeon
Woodpigeon

Usually, however, you will find that sparrows and robins start singing early in the morning. Sparrows, especially the white browed sparrow weavers, only begin singing when there is a sufficient amount of morning light. You may also be able to spot blackbirds and woodpigeons early in the morning. 

Do Male Birds Also Sing in the Wee Hours?

Male Bird Singing to Woo a Female Bird
Male Bird Singing to Woo a Female Bird

While both female and male birds sing their own song in the morning, the male species are the more active participants in the “dawn chorus.”

This is because the male birds utilize the quiet mornings to be heard more by the females and other male birds. During this time, they are looking for a strong mate.

The earlier the bird wakes up, the higher the chances of it making its presence known and avoiding any possible competition.  The male birds use this time to attract a potential mate and mark their territories. 

What Is the First Bird to Sing in the Morning?

Blackbird
Blackbird

The first bird you will hear in the morning will be either the blackbird, chaffinch, robin, thrush or the wren.

Robin Bird
Robin Bird

Depending on where you live, you will hear different birds welcoming the morning sunlight with their dawn chorus. Those living in tropical regions will be able to hear many more birds singing in the morning.

How Does a Bird Sing?

A Bird's Voice Box
A Bird’s Voice Box

Unlike humans, birds do not have lips or a voice box or a strong voice, so it isn’t exactly easy for them to be heard. The syrinx acts as a bird’s voice box, and is situated towards the bottom of the throat.

The expansion and contraction of the syrinx results in a change in its shape, which is what leads to the creation of different sounds or songs in a bird. Without the syrinx, there would be no dawn chorus.

Tightening the syrinx leads to a louder sound, which helps birds to produce magnified and distinct melodies. 

Do Birds Sing in the Winter?

Birds Singing in the Winter
Birds Singing in the Winter

Birds, as a matter of fact, do sing in the winter as well, but not as much as they would during the warmer months of the year. During the winter, they typically sing by your bedroom windows during the late afternoon.

According to National Geographic scientists, birds sing in the cold winter mornings in order to accustom their bodies to the longer days. Another theory is that birds use the winter time to practice their singing skills and ensure that they don’t lose touch. 

During winter, birds focus on finding food for energy and preserving body heat. They also use their songs to communicate with one another, find mates and notify other birds of nearby food sources or possible predators. 

During spring, you can hear a birdsong in the morning, afternoon and evening.

What Do Birds Talk About?

It is no surprise that birds talk to each other. They use their songs to communicate with one another, and let other birds in the area know who’s boss – no really, they use singing as a way of asserting dominance and marking their territory. Their songs are their communication medium.

Birds also “speak” to the opposite gender, in order to attract a partner and mate. For example, females chirp when they sense potential partners (males) around.

They also let other birds know of food such as insects nearby and inform one another about predators that may be lurking in the area or hidden in bushes and trees. 

When Do Birds Stop Chirping?

Like any animal, birds will stay hush when they sense danger – whether it’s a hawk flying by, a mouse squeaking away or a human nearby. You won’t hear their song when they are scared.

They also stop singing when they are busy hunting for food, especially the predator birds, since any noise will notify their prey of their presence. You will also find that birds don’t sing their song if there is any change in their environment. 

How to Make Birds Stop Chirping?

Ideally, we don’t understand why you would want for birds to stop chirping! In fact, you could try, but we don’t know how much progress you will make with it.

Birds sing for various reasons, whether they are happy or looking for a friend, so trying to get them to shush could probably prove to be a very difficult task.

Even if you get them to be quiet for one morning, you will be sure to find that they will be back to singing outside your window the next day. Having said that, we suggest trying to close your windows shut tight and keeping any shrubs and trees around your house well trimmed. 

Why Do Birds Chirp at Sunset?

Birds Chirping at Sunset
Birds Chirping at Sunset

We tend to hear birds chirping at dawn because of how quiet the world is outside – no blaring horns, no scuffling pedestrians, no radios on. But have you ever noticed the birds that sing aloud at dusk? 

Birds, just like humans, react to a change in their environment. For this very reason, as soon as the sun begins to set, the birds respond to this and communicate with their fellow birds. 

Nocturnal birds, such as owls, use their auditory senses to travel and maneuver through the night, instead of relying on their eyesight in the dark. Other birds rely on the night for mating, and use their singing to attract a partner, such as the Northern Mockingbird. 

What Time Is the Dawn Chorus?

Dawn Chorus of Birds
Dawn Chorus of Birds

The dawn chorus refers to the song that birds sing early in the morning, usually around sunrise, as the name suggests. It’s like a soothing white noise. In case you don’t already know, nature lovers across the globe celebrate the international dawn chorus day on the first Sunday of May.

On the international dawn chorus day, Early bird lovers around the world wake up early morning to celebrate the dawn chorus. They even plant trees to create more homes so that more birds join the daily dawn chorus.

If you are planning on being awake to hear the birds sing during dawn, we recommend doing so between half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after it. Ideally, you will be able to hear the dawn chorus distinctly between the months of March and July.

If you would like to hear the dawn chorus, we suggest picking a clear skied, warm day with a light breeze, preferably around April to May. 

Do Birds Whistle?

Birds ‘whistle’ in order to attract a mating partner or assert dominance against another enemy bird that thinks it can whistle better.

Whistling is also used to notify other birds of any lurking threat and can help birds understand where the attacker is. Young birds also use whistling as a way to signal to their parents that they need to be taken care of.

A Chirpy End

Waking up to chirping birds and their dawn chorus is definitely a pleasant start to the day. Not only does it allow for birds to mark their territory and find their mating partner but it also ensures they stay safe and sound. 

However, as lovely and poetic as it sounds, chirping away into the morning can prove to become a threat to birds and definitely isn’t a piece of cake for them. They require a lot of energy to be able to create such melodies each day.

It also means that they become easier to find for predators, both on land and in the air. Birds, though, are smart creatures and take care of themselves really well. 

As per a study by the National History Museum, United Kingdom, 73% people reported hearing louder bird-song during the Covid-19 pandemic, in the UK. They claimed it comforted them at such a time of peril. The research indicates that bird songs could really help improve the mental health of humans. 

If you have any questions, doubts or queries, feel free to drop a comment in our comments section below, and our experts will get back to you with an answer in no time. If there are any products you have in mind that you would like for us to review and compare, do write to us!

Written by:
Editor-in-Chief and lead author at WhyDo

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