Have you ever laid in bed at night, wide awake, because the birds outside just won’t stop chirping? You wonder to yourself, “When will these birds shut up? When will I actually fall asleep? Will I survive work tomorrow?”
The worst thing is when you just give up and get out of bed, hoping they would stop chirping, but at this point, your sleep schedule is already ruined.
You might have felt bad too for wanting to shut them up, because why would you? It’s just a part of nature. It’s how birds have been for thousands and thousands of years. You will not be the first person to ever think of ways to make these birds stay silent at night.
According to The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), there are currently nearly 10,000 species of birds, and National Geographic’s new research estimates that there are between 50 billion to 430 billion birds living on Earth right now, 60 percent of which are songbirds. With those statistics, you are not alone in this.
Fortunately, there are things that you can do to finally have a restful sleep at night, without the bird chirping frustrations, but before that, let’s understand why birds chirp in the first place.
Why Do Birds Chirp?
If you’re lucky, you might be living in an area where nocturnal noisy birds temporarily inhabit at certain times of the year, and that’s the good news. Most of these birds don’t stay in your area the whole year round, as they are what we call “migratory birds”, or birds that move from one place to another depending on the season.
There are many reasons why these birds chirp at night, but here are 9 of them:
1. They are marking their territory.
Like many other animals, birds are quite territorial, and the only way to ensure their survival is to secure and mark their territory in the area. When these birds find a good spot for a shelter that is located within proximity of food and water, as well as nesting sites, they will claim it.
By constantly announcing their presence through their nightly songs, other birds might think twice about entering the territory for their own safety. Additionally, in case a hostile bird tries to invade an already claimed territory, they will sing and chirp non-stop as an attempt to scare them away.
So the next time you hear an aggressive bird chirping at night that just won’t shut up, it’s probably just protecting its home.
2. They are singing a mating call.
Birds chirp at night for the exact same reason some people go on dating apps: they are looking for a mate.
As humans, we don’t have the capacity to understand bird language, but if we could, we probably would find birds chirping at night slightly romantic. The male birds perform songs to woo female birds and invite them to mate, and they are extra noisy during Spring because this season is known to be the birds’ breeding season.
By ensuring that they produce offspring, this is another way birds protect their survival as a species.
3. They are letting others know that they found food.
Birds are very social creatures. Like humans, they survive the best when they go in flocks. Otherwise, a single bird in the wild stands a lesser chance of surviving.
When birds chirp at night, one of the reasons could be that they are on a nightly expedition and have suddenly come across a new food source. Birds are not selfish, so through singing, they let the other birds in their flock know.
Sometimes, male birds can hoard and have extra food at their disposal, so in these situations, they try to sing longer and louder to attract female birds to their nests. This is also an aspect of a mating call. The way to a bird and human’s heart is through their stomachs, clearly.
4. They are in trouble and may be asking for help.
If you call for help when you are in trouble, or ask for assistance when you’re feeling unsafe, then birds do too.
Birds are both predators and prey. They hunt and they are also hunted. So when they are faced with danger and have encountered a predator, they chirp to both warn the rest of the birds to “sound the alarm”, and try to intimidate the predator as well.
This helps keep the flock safe and give them enough time to keep away from potential danger.
5. They can’t tell the time of day.
Due to light pollution, some birds get disoriented and can’t tell the time of day. This is similar to when us humans ruin our sleep pattern during the winter time, when the night is longer than the day. Our circadian rhythm gets disrupted, and so our bodies try to adjust itself.
When birds chirp at night, it’s very likely that they are not even nocturnal birds to begin with, and have just accidentally changed their chirping schedule from day to night, because they cannot essentially tell if it’s light or dark.
6. They are flocking together.
Birds’ songs are kind of like their natural GPS or satellite navigation: it helps them locate and stay within their flock during migration. These chirps are also known as flight calls. Additionally, most migratory birds migrate during the night, and singing is their way of letting the others know the flock’s current agenda.
7. They are baby birds requiring care.
You wouldn’t expect less from a newborn human, so you shouldn’t with newly hatched birds as well.
Baby birds chirp, cry, and sing to alert their parents that they are requiring care and attention. Usually, birds with new hatchlings spend most of their time in the day scavenging for food to provide their babies with, so these cute little chirps are a signal for them to go back to their nest.
8. They are mimicking older birds.
Like the previous reason, little hatchlings learn by repeating. If at night you hear a chirp and many chirps follow the rhythm, it is very likely that these are little baby birds trying to learn their first “words” or practising their “sentences”!
This stage in their lives is crucial, because this is when they learn one of their species’ most important skills to survive as animals in the wild.
9. They are doing a headcount.
When they chirp or sing in unison, they are most likely to be doing some sort of a headcount. The volume of the sound they make gives the whole flock an idea of how many they are flocking together. This gives them a chance to adapt and adjust their behaviors when it comes to surviving, much like how human parents of a single child and parents of multiple children have differing ways of allocating resources.
Steps You Can Take
First of all, we do not advocate that you use violence to stop these birds from chirping at night! The steps listed here are more to do on your end, and we will leave these birds alone with their chirps and songs. All we can do, morally and legally, is to adapt to their chirps and songs. Who knows, you might one day end up enjoying them!
There are many steps you can take to get a full night’s rest, even with these bird’s singing, all of which doesn’t require disrupting their natural behaviors. It’s a win-win situation!
You can use ear plugs to block the noise from these chirping birds, and silicon plugs are the most effective and cost efficient compared to other types, such as rubber or foam ones.
These work very well because you can essentially mould them and fit them perfectly into your ear, ensuring that sound waves have a hard time penetrating.
White Noise Machines or Fans
If you are not keen on the idea of ear plugs, there are other ways of blocking the noise without sticking anything in your ear.
White Noise Machines are little machines you switch on at night that emit a type of noise called white noise. It is produced by combining all the frequencies detectable by the human ear, and effectively blocks the rest of the frequencies in the environment.
They help very well with both blocking outdoor noise at night and lulling you to sleep. Most parents get one because they can easily put them AND their babies to sleep!
The only downside is that most white noise machines are quite costly, so if you do not have the budget for one at the moment, a normal fan would work well too.
There is only one time in your human life when you absolutely hear nothing: it’s when you’re unconscious, fast asleep, or knocked out.
If you’re having trouble getting to sleep at night, it might be because of other issues, like sleep troubles or insomnia. It’s probably best to see a doctor and get a prescription for sleeping aids, as these things knock you out really well, you wouldn’t even know if there was a riot in the neighborhood.
The only way to keep birds away from your vicinity is to make them think the territory is already occupied! Put some bird statues or some sort of scarecrows up to keep them away without hurting them.
Some birds are smart enough to realize that these aren’t real birds, but it should be enough to keep gullible birds away for a bit.
Bird Laser Repeller
Another thing you can install in your garden or yard is this bird laser repeller.
It detects motion and switches on the lasers in colors red and green, which apparently birds hate. This causes them to move away and not land where the laser shines. It’s perfect for night use, as it’s quiet and doesn’t harm the birds. And if you’re worried about energy costs with keeping these on at night, it has an energy saving feature that automatically switches it on and off at intervals.
This is commonly used in warehouses, parking lots, facilities, factories, and basically anywhere that needs to be free of bird droppings. No bird droppings, no birds, no noise.
Ultrasonic Animal Repeller
Unlike the laser repeller, this ultrasonic animal repeller repels not only birds but also stray animals that dare to enter your garden without causing harm by using sound.
Like the name suggests, this gadget emits a noise in a frequency that the human ears can’t process, but annoys birds and small stray animals and effectively keeps them away from your area. However, we don’t recommend this if you have pet animals in your home as the sound it emits can also agitate them.
Most ultrasonic animal repellers are waterproof and solar powered, made with anti-rust and corrosion materials, so there’s zero to very little maintenance requirement. Additionally, since it uses sound to repel birds, you can also effectively keep it on all day if you want to keep the birds away day or night.
One of the costly things you could do is to soundproof your bedroom with sound-absorbing panels.
This is probably not worth it if you only hear these birds for a short time in a year, but if you live in an area where birds chirp constantly for the whole year, then this would be the best option.
Meanwhile, the cheaper alternatives are to move to another bedroom if you have another one, preferably one that has a window facing away from these birds, and DIY soundproofing your room by covering the windows with thick blankets or quilts.
What probably is the most extreme way to not hear these birds chirp at night is to actually move to another place, ideally the city.
If you have been pulling all your hair and are absolutely sick of hearing birds at night non-stop, and this is a possible option for you, then why not?
Moving to another place due to a small reason such as birds chirping at night is more common than you think. If it’s valid to move because of annoying neighbours, it’s valid to move because of noisy birds you can’t stand!