NIGHT SONGS

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your Birding Month -

Ev­ery­one knows and loves the dawn chorus. But there is also a dusk chorus, when birds sing to pro­claim their ter­ri­tory be­fore go­ing to sleep. At this time of year, bird song doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily fin­ish with the com­ing of night. It is not just owls, night­jars and Nightin­gales which keep the party go­ing through the hours of dark­ness. Many other species can keep singing re­gard­less of the lack of light. War­blers are of­ten the main play­ers in this night singing con­cert. Sedge War­blers can keep up their ram­bling, chaotic ex­trav­a­gant sham­bles of a song seem­ingly all night. Grasshop­per War­blers sing more fre­quently af­ter dark than dur­ing the day. And some species sub­tly al­ter their singing pat­terns. The Cetti’s War­bler, for in­stance, can ad­just from in­fre­quent bursts of songs from dif­fer­ent hid­den bush sites to more reg­u­lar re­peated bursts of­ten from the same area, for hours on end. Even birds such as Cuck­oos can sing late into a May night. Don’t for­get to lis­ten for the more fa­mous night sounds, though. Depend­ing on where you are, these may in­clude drum­ming Snipe, the croak­ing and squeak­ing of rod­ing Wood­cock, the boom­ing of Bit­tern, the squeal­ing of Wa­ter Rail, or ‘whip­ping’ of Spot­ted Crake, and the ‘crak­ing’ of Corn Crake. Many birds are vo­cal in the dark and a May night spent just lis­ten­ing is a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence.

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