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Birds Calling and Singing at Night 1


Table 1.

northern mockingbird, northern cardinal, common grackle, blue jay, tufted titmouse, Carolina wren, limpkin, chuck-wills-widow, owls, and American crow are the species most frequently accused of causing problems by calling and singing at night and very early in the morning
urban, suburban, and rural
Bird Sounds:
birds make 2 different kinds of sounds, calls and songs.

calls are brief sounds without a pattern. Calls are generally concerned with coordinating behaviors such as flocking, feeding, and reactions to predators.

songs are a longer series of notes in a pattern. Each species has its own unique song which usually functions to announce territories and to attract mates. There are many individual variations of each species' song.

mockingbirds, crows, and blue jays can mimic other species' calls and songs.

sound is important for birds. For example, studies have found that deaf birds are poor parents because they cannot hear their offspring's calls for food.
loud bird calls and songs at night and early in the morning sometimes wake and/or annoy people
Why Birds Call at Night:
reaction to disturbance

reaction to a predator such an owl or cat

some species (e.g. limpkin and chuck-wills-widow) typically call only at night
Why Birds Sing at Night:
street and security lights make bird think it is dawn and time to announce its territory
In the evening, when birds are going to their nighttime roosts, create enough disturbance to discourage the bird from using that site.

close windows and turn on air conditioner and/or radio to drown out bird sound
Legal Aspects:
permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission are required to use lethal control methods or to destroy nests
Fact Sheet Available:


This document is WEC-QRS-008, one of a series of the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611. Date first printed: June, 1991. Reviewed: December, 1998. Please visit the EDIS Web site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race color, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office.

Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences / University of Florida / Christine Taylor Waddill, Dean

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