Have you ever been kept awake at night by the many sweet songs of the mockingbird? If so, you may have several questions. Why do mockingbirds sing at night? What time do they usually sleep? And is there anything you can do to get rid of them so you can sleep in peace? Keep reading! In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions.
What You'll Learn Today
- When Do Mockingbirds Sleep?
- Why Do Mockingbirds Sing at Night?
- How to Get Rid of Mockingbirds at Night
When Do Mockingbirds Sleep?
Mockingbirds are diurnal; this means they are most active during the day and generally sleep at night.
Sometimes, mockingbirds take naps during the day. They may rest during the hottest hours while reserving the cooler hours of morning and evening for hunting, nest-building, and other activities.
They may also remain active later in the day than some other birds. They sometimes continue to fly around, hunt for insects, and sing their songs as dusk falls; sometimes even later.
Again, though, they are typically awake during the day and usually sleep at night.
Why Do Mockingbirds Sing at Night?
You may still be wondering: if mockingbirds are usually awake during the day, then why do you hear them singing at night?
As it turns out, there are several reasons why a mockingbird may sing at dusk or after. Let’s explore each of these reasons in turn.
But first: not sure if it’s a mockingbird you’re hearing? Check out this video to hear some of the different songs they sing.
Looking For a Mate
You are most likely to hear mockingbirds singing at night during the mating season, in early spring and possibly again later in summer.
Mockingbirds sing for many reasons, but one of the most common reasons is to attract a mate.
If you hear a mocker singing at night, it is probably a young male who has so far been unsuccessful in attracting a female. It may also be an older male who has lost his mate and is trying to attract a new one.
In both cases, the male is a little bit desperate; the breeding season is getting on and he needs to find a mate. So, in addition to singing during the daylight hours, he will continue to sing his song long into the night.
Singing While Asleep
Interestingly enough, there is some evidence to suggest that, instead of pulling an all-nighter, mockingbirds may actually sing while they’re sleeping.
It’s unclear why they sing in their sleep, or even if they are aware they are doing it. But studies have shown that mockingbirds singing at all hours may simply be sleeping through the songs that keep you awake.
Choosing a Territory
There is some reason to believe that mockingbirds sing at night when choosing a new territory.
There are fewer birds flying around after dark, which means the mockingbird will face fewer competitors and challengers. This, in turn, allows them a greater range of options while facing fewer threats.
When a mockingbird has claimed a territory, it will sing its song to broadcast this to other wildlife in the area.
Protecting Their Territory
Sometimes, mockingbirds sing at night to keep predators away from their nest or territory.
The song communicates to other animals that the territory is being guarded. Mockingbirds will dive-bomb at anyone or anything intruding on their space; thus, a mockingbird singing at night may be warning potential intruders to stay away.
Communicating With Each Other
Mockingbirds often sing to communicate. The problem, during the day, is that there are lots of other birds, animals, and insects making many other kinds of noises.
So, sometimes mockingbirds sing at night so that they can be heard more easily. There is less noise at night, so their calls travel farther and can be made out with less difficulty.
How to Get Rid of Mockingbirds at Night
If your friendly neighborhood mockingbirds are keeping you awake at night, you may be wondering if there’s something you can do to chase them away or get them to stop making noise. Luckily for you, there are a few things you can try:
Use Bird Netting or Spikes
Birds, including mockingbirds, often like to use parts of your house to perch on while they sing. Eaves, rafters, porch railings, and window sills are some favorite areas.
If you can identify the spots where mockingbirds like to perch while performing their nightly serenade, you can put up barriers to keep them from perching there. One such barrier is bird netting; another is bird spikes.
Bird netting is a thin mesh barrier that prevents birds from reaching the spots where they would like to perch. You can use it to block off areas of your porch or place it around windows to keep mockingbirds from landing in these areas.
Bird spikes make it difficult or undesirable for birds to land wherever the spikes are mounted. They provide a prickly, uneven surface that is hard for the birds to hold onto.
Using either of these barrier types will persuade mockingbirds to go elsewhere to sing their nightly songs.
Use a Deterrent
There are a number of sight, sound, and smell deterrents you can use to keep mockingbirds away from your yard and house. Keep in mind, though, that many of these deterrents will chase away all kinds of birds, not just mockingbirds.
Some of these deterrents include:
- Fake owls: These sight deterrents make the birds think a bird of prey is in the area. They will not attempt to claim territory that they believe is unsafe, so the sight of an owl, even a fake one, will send them flying elsewhere.
- Ultrasonic deterrents: These sound deterrents produce high-pitched sounds that are undetectable to humans. The sounds are irritating to birds, so they will fly elsewhere when they hear them.
- Predator urine: You can buy products that you spray or sprinkle around containing the urine of various predators. Much like the owl deterrent above, if a bird smells the urine of a predator, they will believe that predator is in the area and will quickly fly on.
Attract Female Mockingbirds to Your Yard
It may seem counterproductive to attract more mockingbirds to your yard, but the more mockingbirds there are, the better are the chances of your lonely singer finding a mate among them. You can attract mockingbirds by placing fruit on your bird feeder, providing ample trees or shrubs for them to build nests, and avoiding the use of pesticides, which kill the birds’ main food source (insects).
Mockingbirds are diurnal birds, but people often hear them singing at night. There may be several reasons for this: the bird may be attempting to attract a mate, choosing or defending a territory, communicating with each other, or simply singing in their sleep.