We, as humans, do a lot of interesting and questionable things. We talk, text, call each other on phones, write letters, emails, video call each other, and the most important mode of communication – GOSSIP! 

But what about the creatures who have only one mode of communication? 

Spring has sprung, the days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer, and the birds are getting louder! Birds chirp or ‘call’, obviously to communicate with each other. 

But, why do birds sing?

For a bird, singing can be draining. It is both energetically expensive and also alerts its predators. So, it obviously makes us think, why even sing, yeah? Evidence suggests that in part, it is to proclaim and defend their territories. Studies have also shown that songs play a crucial role in attracting and impressing potential mates. In fewer words, we use dating websites and they use their voices. Should we also break into impromptu concerts? Makes you think, doesn’t it? 

As bird song is part of the breeding cycle, most birds sing in the breeding season. They are prompted to start singing, as it appears, by increasing daylight – more light sets their little hormones racing, and in response, they sing.

Chances are when you hear a bird singing, it’s a male. The majority of female songbirds in temperate zones use shorter, simpler calls while the males produce the longer and more complex vocalizations, which we conclude to be a song. The story is different in the tropics where females commonly sing, and many species engage in duetting. There, we have a performance! 

And like every different movie or show, each species has its own signature song, its own theme tune. Some are pretty basic, just ‘chiffchaff’, but many are rich and complex and never fail to lift the spirit – “blackbird” immediately springs to mind. 

Each song is different, because first of all, the other bird for whom the supposed song is, has to identify the singer’s species. Females need to know this to choose their right partner! Then, the song has to say something about the health of the singer. A long, loud song for instance indicates a certain amount of stamina, a bird in good condition. Just so similar to the background checks we do, right? 

The songs of birds not only are a treat to the ear, but also an indication of new life.