About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why does that bird sing so early in the morning?

The best part of spring for me is waking up to bird song. But you have to wonder why the American Robin and Northern Cardinal start singing at dawn. Are they just early birds or perhaps think this the best time to sing a solo?

A recent article by Mark Blazis pondered the advantages of the early bird. He and ornithologist Andrew Vitz theorized that many female songbirds lay their eggs in early morning and that a male sings at that time to reinforce the bond with the female, while simultaneously dissuading other males from jumping into the nest.

I was watching a robin furiously gathering mud and dried plant litter at the edge of the pond yesterday. Females build cup-shaped nests from long coarse grass, twigs, paper, and feathers woven together and then line the inner bowl with mud, smearing it with their chest and later adding fine grass or other soft material to cushion the eggs.

In Michigan, American Robins breed once or twice yearly. The breeding season extends from April through July. Blazis writes that sex and singing are inextricably connected and once a robin’s second clutch has hatched, romantic courtship will be replaced largely by parental duties. Then the early morning passionate birdsong will drop dramatically.

But don’t worry, just as the robins end their courtship the American Goldfinches begin theirs!

Outdoors: Predawn bird songs fading soon by Mark Blazis http://ning.it/LT6Xvk

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