Why do birds sing in the morning? What to say when your kids ask - plus, 10 cool bird facts

Just like kids, birds don't tend to enjoy a lie in in the mornings - but why do birds sing in the morning?

Why do birds sing in the morning?
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Do you have an inquisitive little one? Blow them away with your knowledge of why birds sing in the morning and delight with some cool bird facts we've collected to keep their curious minds satisfied. 

Children love to ask 'why, why, why' and unfortunately, for a lot of us parents, they do so about things we know little to nothing about. 

Of course, it's a great thing that kids love to learn new things whether it's riddles for kids, funny dad jokes and knock-knock jokes, or random facts, like one of the 179 fantastic facts for kids that can really blow their mind. But when they're already chirping 'why this, why that' before we've had a morning coffee, it can be hard to respond with some interesting information. 

But we've got you covered. As we've moved into the warmer months with lighter mornings now blessing our days, the mornings are soundtracked by bird song. As a spokesperson for The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds told GoodTo.com, "During Spring, you can hear lots of birds singing in the morning – we call it the Dawn Chorus. 

"You can hear birdsong throughout the day of course – it’s just louder on Spring mornings. Robins are renowned for singing from dawn until dusk and are usually the last bird you’ll hear at night too. Even after the sun has gone down, they’ll often perch on street lights and continue their singing!"

This chorus is best heard between March and July, around 30 minutes either side of sunrise. Among the loudest singers are robins, blackbirds, thrushes, wrens, warblers, blue tits, sparrows and finches, and their sweet voices fill the sky with sound as we have breakfast. 

All the chirping has likely caused your kids to ask, "Why do birds sing in the morning?" It's a good question, but do you know the answer? 

Why do birds sing in the morning?

"Mornings are the best time for singing as it’s quiet," The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds told us. "The birds don’t have to compete with the sound of cars and all the noises humans make! The air is also still and so sound carries better. And it’s a bit safer – singing loudly can attract predators, so earlier in the day, before sunrise and just after it, the low light gives them a little more protection.

They're singing especially loud during Spring, the experts say, "Because it’s the time of year when birds want to make nests and have chicks. Mostly, you will hear the males singing. They are trying to attract a mate and to warn other birds away from their territory – the area in which they want to build a nest and bring up their chicks."

But there are other reasons the birds are so vocal. As professional animal trainer, animal behaviour consultant, and CEO of Avian Behaviour International Hillary Hankey told us here at GoodTo.com, "Birds sing in the morning for different reasons depending on the season, but commonly it’s to affirm their territories.

Singing also, Hankey explains, allows birds to be aware of everything that's going on around them. Just as humans talk to one another to get important neighbourhood information, birds learn this through singing. 

"Songbirds have very high metabolisms, so they have to eat constantly. It’s important that they are generally aware of where one another is foraging for food to avoid any scuffles or neighbourhood disputes. Singing is a good way to establish that, but they do tend to vocalise throughout the day. They have certain songs to advertise to find a mate and some very specific songs to warn others of predators. Chickadees, for instance, use their chick-a-dee-dee-dee call to tell others about a predator, and the amount of 'dee’s' in the call indicates the size of the predator!"

Giving your kids a well-rounded answer when they ask why birds sing in the morning may seem like a small thing to do as a parent but Hankey says it's a vital way of inspiring kids to explore their interest in nature. 

She told us, "Inspiring interest in nature is so important because we are not separate from nature but we are part of it. Everything we do has an impact, even if we aren’t aware of it. Being curious is the first step to making changes to how we grow our gardens, tend to our lawns, select our foods, throw away our trash, or care for our items that end up in the landfill, ocean or inside another animal’s home."

10 cool bird facts to blow kids' minds 

  • The largest living bird in the world is the ostrich, which can be as tall as 2.7 metres with a wingspan of up to 2 metres 
  • The smallest living bird in the world is the hummingbird, which is only 5.5cm tall. It's so small that it's eggs are the size of a garden pea!
  • Birds don’t have teeth which means they have to swallow their food whole. They have a special organ called a gizzard that allows them to digest their food internally 
  • Chickens communicate using over 200 different noises, all meaning something different
  • Penguins can jump as high as 3 meters in the air. They are also the only birds who can swim. 
  • A bird’s eyes are so big that they take up 50% of the space on their heads. In comparison, our human eyes take up about 5% of our heads so if our eyes were the size of bird’s, they would be as big as tennis balls!
  • Some ducks sleep with one eye open to help them protect against predators
  • An owl can turn its head almost 360° all the way round, but it cannot move its eyes
  • The age old question, 'which came first, the chicken or the egg?', was answered by National Geographic scientists who say the answer is …. the egg!
  • Birds eat twice their weight each day

Nurturing your child's sense of curiosity and creativity is so important as a parent and we want to make that as easy for you as possible. From family-friendly adventures to 50 easy crafts for kids, we've collected a range of insight on the best things to do with kids. You might even consider an adventurous day trip to London to discover more amazing facts with our 100 free things to do with the family.

News writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is a news writer for Goodtoknow, specialising in family content. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.