Wake-up Calls –

Maris writes: “Yesterday, May 1st, was International Dawn Chorus Day. I don’t know about you, but ever since it was warm enough to sleep with the windows open a crack, I’ve noticed my very own daily dawn chorus. It starts around 4 am with a robin, although sometimes the mockingbird just goes all night long (not unlike the local university students).

“I was wondering why the birds start so early, since it is long before dawn when they fire up the orchestra. Different types of birds start at different times, and this makes it easier for them to hear potential mates. In urban areas (like the one where I live), increased traffic noise begins around 4 am. Scientists think that human noises, like traffic, prompts an earlier chirping from our bird neighbors. This is sort of a competition of sound; the more quiet it is, the more likely your chirps are to be heard.”