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Decoding Bird Songs – Why are Mornings the Most Preferred Time for the Dawn Chorus?

Birds draw our attention by singing or making some sound, and the nature of the sound or song makes some bird species more identifiable. Those familiar with bird watching will endorse this statement because had it not been for the sound and song, the hobby would not have been as enjoyable. When you see a bird singing in your yard, you can identify the species and feel the season.  The bird songs or sounds communicate between the bird species, as evident from the male birds calling out during spring to find mates and define territories.

Singing red breasted Robin on a fence with defocussed green background

The language of birds

We wake up in the early mornings to the sound of chirping birds, and especially in the wee hours, a cacophony of bird songs must not have escaped your attention. 

The cacophony begins with clockwork precision, and you can make out that it is 4 am in morning.

It then lasts for several hours, but the sound diffuses as people wake up and start their daily chores that, muffle the bird sounds to some extent.  

Although birds can sing at any time of the day, the sounds are loudest and most concerted during the dawn, which scientists call the dawn chorus, which is often louder, livelier, and more repetitive.

The sounds are primarily of male birds trying to attract partners and hold on to their territories by warning away other male birds.

Why do birds prefer to sing during early mornings?

What makes birds so excited during sunrise to join the chorus and signal the beginning of the day?

Scientists have tried to answer this question but provided various views, some of which are quite diverse.

Here are some of the explanations that are doing the rounds.

One group of scientists thinks that since the light is very dim during dawn, that discourages birds from foraging.

As the lack of light is not suitable for socializing, birds take to singing to make the best use of the time.

Another idea is that singing loudly in the early morning helps birds send out signals about their vitality and strength. 

Birds spend a lot of energy on singing, which is an integral part of birdlife. 

Singing aloud in the morning is a demonstration of pride as birds strongly announce their presence by making themselves heard to one and all within hearing distance that it is healthy and strong enough to survive the previous night.

It helps to attract potential mates and a warning to competitors by making their presence felt while staying in charge of the territory.

The dawn songs are the most important.

For birds, the dawn songs are more important because they are more consistent and clearer which helps to create a signature tone for male birds with some variations that build their identity to their neighbors.

Especially male birds intending to defend their territory or trying to attract a mate can sing aloud to let their fellow birds know about its presence rather than making the sound travel too much further.

 The signature tune helps other birds to identify it correctly.

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