why do some birds sing at night
Bird song at night can sound particularly loud and noticeable because it does not compete with daytime noises such as traffic. Many birds sing at dawn. This is called the dawn chorus. Some people find bird song at night irritating, but there is little they can do to prevent it. The best solution is to use soft ear plugs. The northern mockingbird imitates the songs of other birds and many other sounds that it hears, such as barking dogs and creaking doors. The male mockingbird sings to attract a mate. It often sings in urban and suburban neighborhoods, perched on TV antennas and chimneys. It is a small bird, about the size of a robin, with a medium gray back, lighter gray breast and dark gray wings. It possesses patches of white on its wings and the edges of its tail that are visible when it is in flight. The whip-poor-will is a nocturnal bird. This means it wakes at night and sleeps during the day. It sings loudly at dusk. The whip-poor-will lives in woodland.
It is not easy to see because its coloring blends well with its surroundings. It will hover in the air near its nest if an intruder approaches, showing the white tips of its tail feathers. It nests on the ground and feeds on insects. Thrushes are famous for their singing ability, but many people who appreciate bird song consider the hermit thrush to have the best song of all birds. It often sings in the late evening or at night. It is a migratory bird that lives in Alaska, Canada, and the western and northeastern United States, and it spends winters in the southern U. S. and further south. Its habitat is woodland. It is small, brown and white with a spotted breast. In cities, birds sometimes sing at night during the breeding season. Researchers found that in the case of the American robin, the cause was connected with urban light pollution. This was possibly because the birds confused the high levels of artificial light with sunrise.
Other research in the UK on European robins showed a connection between urban noise pollution and night singing, and concluded that the birds may have been trying to avoid competing with background noise in daytime.
A new project at Glasgow University aims to help resolve why robins are up all night singing in cities. Dr Davide Dominoni believes that city lights convince the birds there is no end to the day. Robins are adapted to hunting insects in dim light, so are thought to be particularly sensitive to the effects of artificial lighting. The researcher said blue light from neon signs was likely to be especially disruptive to the birds' body clock. Dr Dominoni was speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting, in San Jose, California. He said: "I live in Glasgow now and I hear robins singing throughout the night, singing all the time. Robins are one of the most sensitive species to light. " In order to investigate the phenomenon, Dr Dominoni is putting cameras in nesting boxes to find out when robins sleep.
But the reasons for the robins' nocturnal singing have been a subject of some debate. Other researchers have proposed that the birds predominantly sing at night in urban areas because it is. Either way, Dr Dominoni says that singing through the night could be affecting the birds in adverse ways. "This brings us to some of the physiological costs that that these environmental pressures might have. "Singing is a costly behaviour, it takes energy. So by increasing their song output, there might be some energetic costs. " He continued: "I think we should reduce the intensity of the light we put out, reduce the amount of light and try to think about the spectrum of the light we are putting out. "In some cases, we can try to modify the street lamps, by putting shields on top to reduce light pollution. "
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