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Monday, January 21, 2008

Daft birds singing in the dead of night

Dublin, January, 2.30 in the morning. Afflicted again by insomnia, I am standing, chilled, in the sodden remnants of the back garden.

And birds are singing.

For sure, the sky is not exactly the ebony emptiness speckled with flickering stars that nighttime evokes in rural areas. A swathe of clouds to the north, towards the city centre, are reflecting back to ground the amber glow of streetlights.

And in the gaps between the orange clouds, the sky is that greyed-out kind of cornflower blue which one generally associates with dull November afternoons, the ones that end in sudden rain.

But this is the middle of the night, not the afternoon. And it is January, nearly the darkest time of the year. We are many hours from sunrise.

So why are the birds singing?

I can hear starlings and sparrows, and a number of other songbirds my urban ears are incapable of identifying. They are all singing, a full throated dawn chorus. In the middle of the night.

I'm no naturalist, as I said. So I don't know if this is a perfectly normal thing for birds to do. Though I suspect something is deeply wrong here. Wrong against the natural order, if you will.

Perhaps this error on the part of local birdlife is something to do with global warming, akin to migratory flocks taking off at the wrong time of year, or snowdrops peeking through the ground in Autumn and not the New Year.

Or perhaps there is another explanation, in which case, I would genuinely love to hear it.

Why are the birds singing in the middle of the night? Is this unique to Dublin or is it happening elsewhere? Perhaps there is some folksy country aphorism that can explain this? 'Birds sing at night – your ecology is shite.'

I'm actually a little concerned by this. If anyone can explain this phenomenon, please let me know what the birds are doing and why.

It might help me sleep a little easier.


Flirty Something said...

my gosh you are very eloquent, think full moon is causing birds to sing?

boro said...

Music has charms to soothe the savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.

JC Skinner said...

Full moon, eh? Hadn't thought of that. Never encountered it before either. Maybe it's a SoDuCo thing?
Boro: Love the Shakey reference, but unsure whether the birds are in fact aiming to soften my garden wall or not, and if so, why, when they could just fly over it.

Anonymous said...

The answer is nowhere near as eloquent as your insomnia, urban light pollution apparently. But that’s not sufficiently accurate. I’m also a city dweller and I hear them all the time, not always the same ones, and at different stages of night from twilight through early morning.

Daft Punk said...

Never mind about the birds JC, if your job is causing you insomnia then get ta fuk out of it. Read the link my friend!

Tired Joe (a.k.a. Random Joe) said...

At least you weren't kept up all night by coke-head students arriving back from nighclubs or where ever the flip they were till 3am to coontinue the party.