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Why Some Birds Sing in the Winter

Early Starters and Holders On
© Aaron Maizlish View Large

By late January, some resident birds, such as the Northern Mockingbird, are beginning their spring singing. When you step outside on a particularly sunny day this winter, a Fox Sparrow like the one pictured here may be warming up for the coming spring. And as far north as British Columbia, Pacific Wrens are singing in earnest by mid-February. So the singing season never entirely stops.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®
Winter Singers
Written by Bob Sundstrom

[Song Sparrow song, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/176250]

The sounds of spring, but in the depths of winter.

[Song Sparrow song, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/176250]

This is BirdNote.

You associate most birds' songs with spring and early summer, if you live in a temperate climate. Birds like the Song Sparrow and Northern Cardinal. But quite a few birds that don’t migrate will keep singing – even just a little bit – right through the coldest time of the year.

These winter singers are mostly asserting ownership of feeding territories – the same patches of habitat they fought for with much more intense bouts of singing earlier in the fall.

Meanwhile, as early as late January, some resident birds are beginning their spring singing, especially in the southern states. Like this Northern Mockingbird [Northern Mockingbird song, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/94375]

Even as far north as British Columbia, Pacific Wrens are singing in earnest by mid-February [Pacific Wren song, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/192423]

So the singing season never entirely stops.

[Fox Sparrow, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/137588]

When you step outside on a particularly sunny day this winter, even visitors from the far north, like this Fox Sparrow, may be warming up for the coming spring. 

Today's BirdNote is brought to you by the Bobolink Foundation.

###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.

Song Sparrow [176250] recorded by G. A Keller; Northern Mockingbird [94375] recorded by W L Hershberger; Pacific Wren [192243] recorded by Bob McGuire; Fox Sparrow [137588] recorded by Gerrit Vyn.
'Wind Reed Wispy Gusty' recorded by Gordon Hempton at NatureSound.org
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.

Producer: John Kessler

Executive Producer: Dominic Black

© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org    December 2017   Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#       song-10-2014-12-08   song-10        

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