Mar 15 2012

Singing In The Dark

Published by at 7:00 am under Migration,Songbirds

The robins are here!

Migrating flocks of American robins swept north overnight and arrived in Pittsburgh in the dark.  They’re pausing to tank up before continuing their journey north.

In the morning I see them everywhere but I know they arrived, even before dawn, because  I hear them singing in the dark.

The big flocks began arriving Monday night.  Lots of them and more every day.

Because I live in the city I miss hearing another great nighttime sound — spring peepers — so the robins are my only spring night cue.

I do wonder, though, what happens where both robins and spring peepers occur.

Do spring peepers drown out the sound of robins when they’re singing in the dark?

 

(photo by Cephas on Wikimedia Commons.  Click on the photo to see the original)

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “Singing In The Dark”

  1. Nellie Curranon 15 Mar 2012 at 7:20 am

    A lot of screeching at the Gulf Tower this morning but the camera is not working. Hope this is good news.

  2. Kate St. Johnon 15 Mar 2012 at 7:34 am

    Aaaacck! And I can’t reach the controller to reboot it!

  3. Katydidon 15 Mar 2012 at 8:47 am

    I live “way out” in the woods. I didn’t hear robins in the dark at all. We have no street lights–is that the reason? The spring peepers woke up two days ago and yesterday the leopard frogs began their songs. Their sounds soothe me. This is so wonderful.

  4. FAITH CORNELLon 15 Mar 2012 at 9:04 am

    When I got home last evening it was already close to 8pm & I did hear robins too . I didn’t know for sure what birds were serenading me but learned it from your wonderful blog. Thanks for keeping all informed about this Was wonderful to here. I think the only nest I know of as of yesterday was Harrisburg & eagles in Iowa, springing is springing!!

  5. Kathyon 15 Mar 2012 at 12:49 pm

    I saw my first Robin here in Alabama, I think it was about 3 weeks ago now. They are hopping all over the place when I walk the dog in the AM. One of my dear “farm” friends from upstate NY used to say to me that it wasn’t officially spring until the “Peepers” had been frozen over 3 times. Has anyone else every heard that?

  6. kcon 15 Mar 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Speaking of frogs….can anyone recommend a way to identify by sound our local frogs? Can anyone describe the basic sounds these frogs make? Is there a helpful site which might describe the sounds they make and when?

    Thanks for any suggestions.

  7. Marcy Con 15 Mar 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Try this link I found…http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/frogquiz/

    I got my best robin photo yesterday when it was hopping right toward me in the yard. Camera in hand and the sun was perfect…I was taking photos of the bees and insects in the blooming red maple.

    Peepers going under 3 times I have heard and also 3 thunderstorms and they will be out…Ours have only been out since the 12th, so they may need to go under 2 more times.

    It was a wonderful day out trimming the garden and I even MOWED the old grasses and native plants to mulch up..this is the earliest I ever remember BEFORE St. Patricks Day.

  8. Steve-oon 16 Mar 2012 at 10:35 am

    When I worked in Allison Park I could hear frogs from inside of my building. I’ve never heard birds in there, so I’m going to say that frogs are louder than robins.

    We saw some Robins out here at the GBBC.

  9. Gintarason 16 Mar 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I’ve seen a bunch of American Robins comeback here in NY/LI.

    Last week I’ve talked to my sister in law in Lithuania and she told be a thing that i’ve never thought about: When birds migrate and we think that they’re going for the win ter and in spring they’ll comeback home – to US, kinda, these are OUR birds.
    She told me: don’t you think, that people there, where birds migrate for the winter, think the same: these birds are THEIR birds and when birds migrate back for the winter, they coming back to THEM…and birds come to visit US for the summertime only…

    Now, about Starlings…these are songbirds and chatters…Have anyone tried to whistle while seeing starlings?
    I do now this almost everyday, when I go outside building where I work for a smoke.
    I have pretty good “success” rate for starlings whistle me back.
    What did I noticed, starlings might not whistle back in a cloudy/rainy day, but in a sunny day, they do sometimes whistle in chorus.

  10. Kate St. Johnon 16 Mar 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Cool thought, Gintaras. Also, I really like how you can “talk” with the starlings.

  11. Rob Protzon 17 Mar 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Still no comments on why the robins are singing in the dark. Robins were singing outside my window at 5 AM this morning (Saturday).

    The reason is because they respond to ultraviolet dawn! They see UV light long before visible dawn happens.

    I did a quick search and came up with a good explanation of avian vision and UV at

    http://www.ducks.org/conservation/waterfowl-biology/a-birds-eye-view

    Rob

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