Reasons Why You May Be Hearing Birds Singing At Night

Waking up to the sound of birdsong is something that many of us expect, but it can catch you off guard when you hear very vocal birds when you’re trying to drift off to sleep.

In most cases birds are diurnal and will sleep during the night, but there are certainly many birds that are most active during the night since they are nocturnal. There are a number of reasons for this, and some of them may be quite surprising to you!

So, here’s your answer to why birds are chirping in the night. 

They’re Confused/ There’s Too Much Light

In most cases, you know it’s morning because you can hear the birds chirping outside. Many birds wake up fairly early in the morning and then they have their slumber when it’s dark in the evening.

If a bird is singing when it’s night time then the bird could actually be a little confused. Birds can become confused for a number of reasons, but one such reason is because of light pollution.

In places like city centers and highly populated areas, birds will tend to think that artificial lights are actually sunlight, which can end up waking them up before they actually should be woken.

This can confuse them and cause them to chirp instead of trying to get to sleep. Certain birds like the Song Sparrow and the American Robin are particularly prone to experiencing this problem.

After some time there are some bird species that will adjust to the light pollution and return to the correct sleeping schedule, but it’s still fairly common to hear singing and chirping in the night because of this.

The thing is that light pollution isn’t just an annoyance to birds, it can be problematic for their survival. It can affect the migration cycle and it can even get in the way of breeding.

Bird watching enthusiasts often find themselves disappointed when fewer and fewer birds return from migration each year thanks to light pollution. Migration can take a lot out of birds, after all.

The vast majority of songbirds will attempt to migrate during the darker hours, but this can be interrupted by the light pollution as it can end up confusing them and messing with their sleep.

Not only that, but the birds can be attracted to lights from buildings, causing them to fly into the buildings and hurt themselves when they are traveling. Some birds will keep trying to travel, but many will get hurt on their way to their new destination. 

A Warning For Other Creatures

Birds are often very cautious because they need to be. As such, most of their time is spent trying to protect their babies and themselves from things like predators.

If a bird notices a predator is coming close, then they may try to let other birds know. They may then get into groups and chirp very loudly to ensure that any predators are scared away, such as cats or hawks.

If the danger is imminent to the birds, then they will try to be as loud as possible in order to get other birds to get away as soon as they can.

Birds aren’t just alerting other members of their own species either. For instance, a goldfinch may make noise to alert robins, nuthatches, sparrows and other finches.

There are some situations where a human may not even hear the call because they are so quiet to us. Others are very loud and distinctive to the point that we will almost certainly hear it. Many birds will try to get outside as soon as possible to see the bird that’s singing and will only see trees with nothing in them.

Some birds will hide in the trees, keeping themselves hidden while still alerting other birds to what’s going on. It’s a form of communication we don’t know much about and research is still being done to learn more. It is thought though that the song in question can vary depending on the degree of danger and what the threat actually is.

What Birds Will Sing At Night?

You will find that pretty much any bird will sing during the night if they have to. With that being said though, there are some birds that are known only for singing during the night time hours. 

Eastern Whipporwill

You may not have heard of this name before, but this bird is fascinating. It has a very unique sound, and you may hear it more frequently during the summer in highly populated areas.

If you want to see if, don’t bother running after it because it’s a camouflage master. It’s a way that the bird manages to protect itself. These birds are becoming increasingly more endangered because there aren’t as many insects to keep them alive. They can be known to fly into buildings and cars too.

Northern Mockingbirds

These birds have a wide variety of songs to sing, and they aren’t afraid to show you that! They have quite the talent for singing, and you are more likely to hear them during a full moon.

Again, you will hear them most often when they are in mating season. You can find them pretty much anywhere, but they are becoming more scarce. Cats are particularly fond of them, which is why there have been calls from the American Bird Conservancy to keep cats indoors to protect these birds. 

Barred Owls

You probably know the hoot hoot of this owl’s call, and you can hear it anywhere in North America during the night time.

You are especially likely to hear the call of these birds during the mating season as they try to attract a mate. They can make gurgling, cawing, cackling and hooting noises. They are known for their impressive hunting abilities, and will often look for small animals and birds for prey.

They are far more likely to be present in the Pacific Northwest though you can find them almost anywhere.

Yellow Breasted Chat

This is a kind of warbler that most often sings during the spring – you are unlikely to hear them at any other point in the year. They can chirp and chatter away for a long time, and they will sing in large open spaces. If you’re in a park or a meadow then you may hear this bird.

There are a lot of them too and you can sometimes find them in highly populated areas.

Common Nightingale

You can find nightingales anywhere in the United States, Asia and Europe. In fact there are over 200 unique songs that the nightingale can sing. You will often find these birds in thick brush areas and they will sing for hours from dusk until the sun rises the next morning. They’re pretty noisy, making it easy to hear them from miles away. 

What Time Do Birds Go To Bed?

In the case of nocturnal birds, they will usually go to sleep when the morning comes around. For the vast majority of birds, sleeping will start when the night kicks in and they will then sing their song first thing in the morning.

They generally remain in the same place for the whole night in order to protect themselves from predators that roam about during the night time. Of course, this sleep schedule can massively vary depending on numerous factors like artificial light and whether there are predators nearby.

In most cases though birds will sleep in the night and be awake during the day.


You often associate birds with morning songs, but you can sometimes be surprised when you hear birds singing during the night – it’s not always something that you expect.

Why is it that birds are singing in the night? It’s a question that many people wonder when they can hear the birds chirping outside at night. They can be trying to get a mate, preparing to migrate for the winter or they may be warning other birds.

Ultimately, if you want to hear the sounds of the birds then you really should look forward to the nighttime.