Jun 16 2010

Becoming Silent

Published by at 7:30 am under Bird Behavior,Schenley Park,Songbirds


Remember when the robins woke you up before dawn?  When they sang all night?  It was only last month.

Now that it’s mid-June there’s a lot less birdsong in the morning.  They still sing but they lack the frantic edge they had in May.

Their reason for singing is quickly disappearing.  They’ve established territory and found a mate.  They have eggs in the nest or babies to feed.  Some sing less when they have nestlings, perhaps to avoid attracting attention to their vulnerable family.

And if they haven’t nested yet, they’ve given up.

I noticed a gap last week in yellow warbler song when I suddenly heard them again in Schenley Park after a three week hiatus.  Why did they stop singing?  I don’t know, but their songs are half-hearted now.

The robins are half-hearted too.

By the middle of July the serenade will be over.

Alas.  Just as I got my ears in tune to identify birdsong there will be nothing to practice with.

(photo of a yellow warbler by Chuck Tague)

8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Becoming Silent”

  1. Faith Cornellon 16 Jun 2010 at 9:14 am

    Well now that’s another mystery solved;wondered why it was so much quieter on the deck even tho I was still seeing a lot of birds. We have a huge pine in the front corner of our building that was cut at the top by inappropriate trimmers & a hawk has build her nest up there so I thought maybe all the birds were being quiet so they don’t get eaten; that may be a reason too, however. Thanks for the interesting observation.

  2. Kathyon 16 Jun 2010 at 9:35 am

    Kate, you are full of so much wonderful information for we amateurs. I had absolutely no idea all that happened.

  3. Kristenon 16 Jun 2010 at 1:05 pm

    There’s a robin who lives in a big pine tree across the street from me who hasn’t gotten that message. S/he starts at 2:30 – 3:00 AM and s/he’s LOUD!

  4. Kate St. Johnon 16 Jun 2010 at 1:06 pm

    wow! My robins are very subdued now.

  5. Terrion 16 Jun 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Subdued, maybe, but there’s still a dawn chorus, at least where I live (woodsy area of Long Island). There also appears to be a cardinal whose mission in life is to wake me up. Take heart, though: When the serenades simmer down, shortly thereafter is when the crickets start at night.

  6. Kate St. Johnon 16 Jun 2010 at 4:21 pm

    I don’t camp much — I can count the number of times I’ve camped on one hand — so keep that in mind when I say…

    I’m reminded of the time I camped one June night in Bedford County, PA. I laid down to fall asleep and couldn’t do it because I kept identifying all the night sounds: whip-poor-wills, a barred owl, crickets, etc. I finally had to put in earplugs so I wouldn’t be distracted by the sounds.

  7. Marjorieon 17 Jun 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Your camping story reminded me of a day years ago when my husband, 3 sons who were about 5-7-9 at the time were camping at the beginning of Presque Isle. There used to be a hotel/restaurant where the large condos are now owned and run by Sarah Coyne (cabins also). Usually we rented a cabin, but one year we paid her to pitch our tent on the sand near the hotel for a few nights. The boys were playing at the bottom of the hill where Waldeameer Park is and when we bedded down for the night and I had finally fallen asleep (like you, I was listening to crickets, the sound of the waves/water washing ashore, sounds from the hotel, etc.) we were rudely awakened about 2:30-3:00 by what sounded like an orchestra of peeps/cheeps for quite a while. It appears our sons had “collected” about 15-20 little toads/frogs and they were hanging in a bag on the back of the tent. Of course we let the poor little things out but I’ll never forget the sound!!!

  8. Jerryon 29 Nov 2010 at 12:08 pm

    It looks like it is singing into a microphone!!!

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