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Birds reaction to the sunshine

  1. Feb 16, 2012 #1

    Anna Blanksch

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    Why do birds get so excited and chipper when the sun shines? Shouldn't they be singing all the time? Does it have something to do with thinking spring is coming and needing to attract a mate? But then... what about when birds sing on sunny winter days?
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  3. Feb 16, 2012 #2


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    Have you spent any time outside when the sky is just starting to lighten? Some birds go nuts during that time of day. I love tenting/camping, and it's hard to sleep through the early morning hours (when it is still pretty dark) once the birds start chatting.
  4. Feb 16, 2012 #3

    jim mcnamara

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    First off, some bird species are most active at night, owls for example. Members of the goatsucker family are also night timers - google for nighthawk - a very common bird.

    The site below has lots of bird vocalizations. One species can make different vocalizations.

    Since birds may have a variety of calls: warning, mating, territory, and some species have many more types of calls than others (example: birds in the crow family, Corvidae.)
    what is happening is that there is an increase of different vocalizations across species.
    Kind of like checking on where you wife is. And worrying about the owl coming back to roost nearby

    So during dawn and dusk, you may hear bird calls that relate to locating mates nearby, re-bonding, and letting others of the same species know of the caller's presence, plus additional frequency of warning calls.

    Warning calls - Dawn and dusk is a very active time for predators, in part because both shifts of predators are active , diurnal and nocturnal. This causes increased numbers of warning calls. Interestingly, most species of woodland birds know the warning vocalizations of other species of birds, a sort of a mutual defense network. So when one species starts squawking about bad guys nearby, others will pick up and add warning in ther own "language".

    You will also notice a decline in dusk and dawn bird calls during winter, when a lot of species may not mate or may have migrated South.
  5. Feb 19, 2012 #4

    Anna Blanksch

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    Thanks for the replies! That explains why they chirp at dawn and dusk. Also why they they give warning calls, but I'm still curious why they call more often when the sun shines vs a cloudy day. I don't hear birds when it's a cloudy day. Thanks!
  6. Apr 4, 2012 #5
    I'd say they are just socializing, everyone else is out so they chit chat.

    Do you see as many birds when the sun isn't shinning?

    Next time the weather is sunny, but quite windy see if the birds are as active. I'd think a bird flying around in poor weather is a poor use of energy.

    The sunshine just correlates to the nice weather, so as I said check it out next time it's sunny but windy enough to make flying difficult.

    Oh and metabolism, I have no idea how it works for a bird but sunshine(light/heat/both) may influence it. Especially considering the lineage.

    I just found this on some random website, it speaks generally so I think it's accurate.

    "If you look at the average body temperature of vertebrates you’ll find that birds have the highest average body temperature of all. They’re significantly higher than mammals and are actually right on the cusp of protein denaturation. As mammals we can increase our body temperature when we have a cold. Birds can’t do that. "

    So yea, seems they're "excited" by sunshine. :smile:
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012
  7. Apr 4, 2012 #6


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    at least in mammals, astrocytes utilize fabp7 to regulate diurnal changes in association with PSD (post-synaptic density) to reorganize neural circuitry at day changes. So it wouldn't be surprising if there's a similar kind of stimulus response in birds. In this case, its independent of temperature; the day/night cues are the significant stimulus. But if the birds aren't around (no animals appear around here in -40 in the winter) then you won't hear them.
  8. Apr 4, 2012 #7
    Yea I hear ya Pythagorean,

    I considered the light from that perspective as well, included it in (light/heat/both).

    Birds are remarkably "visual" animals.
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