Yesterday night I woke up when Batcat nudged my face in search of some affection. As he settled down next to me on the blanket, purring loudly, drifting into a heavy cat sleep, I found myself - to my dismay - wide awake. It was still dark and I assumed it was still early in the small hours of the morning. As I tried the best I could to fall asleep again, I realized very soon my efforts were futile. I realized this as soon as I heard one faint distant chirping in the darkness outside my window. One look at my alarm clock confirmed my fear; indeed, at five am, the dawn was imminent. Within ten minutes, the chorus of birds started with full force as the velvet blanket above me in the roof top window grew into a hue of silver. Falling asleep with this orchestra in the background was now impossible.
This episode made me seriously ponder this question; Why do birds sing at dawn and at dusk, at least why is their singing so much more palpable at these two distinct times of the day?
In Scandinavia, this chorus of birds can take place as early as 3am in June, when the white nights rule the North. Even though beautiful and so significant of life, this song can also be terribly disturbing. Particularly if one happens to be awake at the crack of dawn, which is really only late at night and the penetrable music is inevitably suddenly there and impossible to escape from.
Believe it or not, it was almost impossible to find a solid, scientific explanation to the "early morning, early evening singing". And this was not due to lack of scientific papers, multitude of them out there studying this phenomenon.
Some sites online list the most obvious reasons; birds sing at dusk and dawn, as that is the time of the day when there is the least amounts of interference from other environmental sources, such as people and cars. The noise of the modern world winds down and rises with the sun. Birds sing to establish their territory, to tell other males where they are (and to beware) and to inform the bird population what they are all about. It is also a means by which they attract mates. When they sing at dusk or dawn, their singing can appear to be coming from a much closer proximity, as it travels more freely, thus confusing their predators. A very interesting fact to note is furthermore that even though the songs sound much all the same to us, each individual bird has a particular tone, which distinguish it from another bird of the same kind.