Why Do Birds Sing?
NATURE Activities for kids and Adults
One of the things I enjoy most about warm weather is birdsong. In my opinion, there are few things more relaxing than enjoying a nice cool drink on a Summer day and listening to the birds. The Wood Thrush, pictured above, is my absolute favorite singer. Listen here!
Birds are a great way to introduce children to nature and they have, in fact, inspired some of the most influential conservationists in history, including Roger Tory Peterson and John James Audubon.
Birds sing for many reasons. To attract mates, to warn of predators, to maintain their territory, and to reassure their mates or flocks. Some ornithologists (people who study birds) theorize that birds sing for the pleasure of it because they enjoy their own songs and singing with others nearby. Bird emotions are still not well understood and there is much more to learn about this topic.
One of the most complex animal languages is actually believed to belong to the Carolina Chickadee. Different notes in Chickadee calls are believed to indicate complex information such as locations of food sources and types of predators, their location, and more. Chickadees even appear to have grammar rules and regional dialects!
Many bird watchers are taught that usually only male birds sing (to defend territory or attract mates); however, 64% of the 1,000+ songbird species contain females that sing! FemaleBirdSong.org was created to help spread awareness of the importance of female birdsong (female singing is more common in tropical areas where mating birds hold territory for long periods of time - two singing birds might help protect territory better). In our area, Song Sparrows, Cardinals, and the Rose Breasted Grosbeak are well known for female birdsong.
Here's an activity that both adults and kids can enjoy (optional but helpful things to bring include: a nature journal, a field guide (or bird ID app - some help ID birdsong that you record), binoculars).
There are no right answers (well, there might be, but that's not the point!) - this exercise will get participants thinking about the natural world around you and help open your mind to questions that conservationists and ornithologists are researching right now!
You can find some of our favorite field guides for birds (and books on birds) in our Bookshop store! Each purchase from the Panama Rocks Bookshop store helps support Panama Rocks (and Jeff Bezos doesn't get a dime!). Thank you for your support!
You may also want to learn more at the Cornell Lab or Ornithology's website, All About Birds.