What California bird sings at night?

Walking up in the middle of the night to the sound of singing birds could evoke feelings ranging from annoying to pleasing. Regardless of the feeling, if it happens often enough, you might develop some curiosity about the culprit. So, what California bird sings at night?

A northern mockingbird is usually the bird singing out loud at night in California, and most times, it’s a male searching for a mate. These birds are good mimics and have several sounds they can make. But other birds such as owls, Killdeer, American robin, and meadowlarks could also be responsible.

If bird songs keep disturbing you at night, the best thing to do is to get cover trees and anywhere birds can perch on your property with a bird net. Here, we discuss the California birds that sing at night and why.

Northern Mockingbird

If you’re in California and hear a bird singing at night, it’s mostly like it’s the northern mockingbird. The northern mockingbird is quite good at mimicking several songs and has an extensive discography to delight or annoy you with, depending on how you view things. They’re common throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean.

Northern mockingbirds are good at singing different notes and like to flex their vocal abilities while at it. Most times, the singing mockingbirds are males, either young and still searching for mates or older ones that have lost their mates. The point of the singing is to attract a female mockingbird. So, unless you’re able to attract a female mockingbird, you might have to deal with that noise for much longer.

Mockingbirds can also sing at night for other reasons. What makes these creatures fascinating is their singing ability. They’re capable of using rasps, trills, shrills, scolds, and whistles as part of their vocalization. They can imitate other birds such as hawks, jays, orioles, or even animals like frogs. They also imitate car alarms, gate openings, creaky doors, etc.

The birds can learn up to 200 songs in their lifetime, and either sex can sing. But unpaired males are the most persistent singers and can go as long as 24 hours singing during the breeding season. The breeding season is between spring and early summer. The full moon period is when they’re at best when it comes to singing. 

Mockingbirds aren’t shy at all, and you’ll find them singing in the open, perching on anything they find. Their white wings, patches, and long tails are the best way to recognize these birds. The northern mockingbirds are also very loud.

Other Birds Likely to Make Noise At Night

Northern mockingbirds might be the first culprit. But they’re not the only ones that sing at night. In California, other birds might be responsible for the noise, making it near impossible for you to sleep at night. They include:

1.      Owls

The sound owls make isn’t exactly the kind of song you want to dance to, but it can be disturbing. These birds are of various types and make their noises at night, which is understandable since they’re nocturnal birds. Owls mostly sing alone but can sing with other owls during courtship and breeding season. Two owls can be hooting throughout the night and not get tired.

2.      Killdeer

The sound the Killdeer makes isn’t exactly a song. It’s far from it, but their call is a noise nonetheless and could keep you awake at night. Killdeers aren’t so common in California, especially if you live in the urban centers. But you might hear these birds if you live near a natural reserve or a water channel. These shorebirds make sounds like a frantic song, and they may call out at any time in the day.

3.      Meadowlarks

Here’s another bird that you might likely hear sing in California. But they’re rare compared to mockingbirds. Meadows larks have a beautiful voice, and they’re quite loud. But they prefer grassland areas. So, you’re unlikely to find them in urban areas. You may hear these birds singing if you’re living near the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve, Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, or close to any ecological reserve in California. But if you’re hearing birds singing in the residential and urban parts of the state, it’s unlikely to be a meadowlark.

4.      American Robin

The sweet-sounding song that intrudes on your sleep might come from the American Robin. It’s a common bird in many places, including California. Generally, these birds sing at dawn, but light pollution has done a number on them, and they sometimes sing through the night without knowing. They’re also big-time singers in the spring because songs are part of their courtship ritual. It’s possible to have the American Robin singing all year round.

How to Stop Bird Songs from Disturbing Your Night?

One thing you may want to do is cover any tree in your yard with bird netting. It’s an effective way to ensure that birds don’t perch on your trees, especially fruit trees. Of course, you need to check on the netting occasionally as it may catch smaller birds. But you don’t have to do that at night and can be sure you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Why do Birds Sing at Night?

Birds sing at night for multiple reasons, and knowing these reasons could help you determine why they’re disturbing you. These include:

1.      Protection and Establishing Territory

Some studies show that these birds do sonic sparring, establishing territory and protecting their turf. So, the next time you hear bird songs at night, it could be mockingbirds fighting out who should control which part of your neighborhood.

2.      Mating

Most birds that sing are males, and the primary purpose is to attract female counterparts. That’s why singing is usually more common during the mating and breeding season.

3.      Search for food

Birds could also be singing because they’re searching for food. It could be a way to attract prey.

4.      Nocturnal Birds

Birds that are normally nocturnal like owls will sing at night because that’s when they’re awake. In areas with a lot of nocturnal birds, the noise of the nocturnal birds could wake up the diurnal ones, and they too will join their call.

5.      Pollution

Light pollution has affected the circadian rhythm of birds, leading them to sing at night, thinking it’s daytime. Some experts also believe that noise pollution during the day has forced many diurnal birds to now sing at night since this is when everywhere is quiet. 

In Conclusion

Northern mockingbirds are the most common singing birds in California and can be quite annoying. But there are also ways to prevent them from perching close to your house at night.