Where Do Birds Go At Night?

where do birds go at night

Most bird species are diurnal. This means that they’re awake and active during the day and sleep at night. But, because they may be vulnerable to predators while they’re asleep, they have to find safe places where they can slumber without being disturbed.

The exception to this is, of course, nocturnal birds. Birds like owls and nighthawks are active during the night and tend to sleep during the day. They’ve developed a special eyesight that allows them to spot their prey only in the dark.

So, where do birds go at night to get a good night’s sleep? Let’s discuss the possibilities of where all your daily twittering visitors might disappear to when the sun goes down.

Where Do Birds Go At Night: 5 Common Locations

High In The Tree Branches

A lot of the common birds that you see fluttering around your yard and bird feeders during the day, will find refuge high up in the branches of trees that are either growing in your or your neighbor’s garden.

Evergreen trees are the most popular choice because they provide lots of places for the birds to hide among the foliage. Most birds will prefer to sleep close to the tree trunk as this also provides extra protection from the elements.

In Dense Shrubs And Bushes

If you don’t have any tall trees growing in your yard, the birds will choose dense shrubs and bushes to roost in overnight. Once again, the covering of foliage will allow them hide from predators. This gives them enough security to be able to sleep uninterrupted.

In Tree Cavities

Another popular place for birds to hide during the night are cavities in trees. This even includes Woodpecker holes that have been abandoned. In fact, you’ll often find that a number of small birds will occupy the same cavity during the night, especially in winter.

On the other hand, if you have bird houses in your yard, the birds will happily occupy these during the nighttime hours. Generally, they will all huddle in there together both for protection and warmth.

Interesting Fact
Perching birds referred to as “passerines”, have flexor tendons in their legs. These automatically lock onto the branch that they’re sitting on. This allows them to stay locked in place without any exertion or use of their muscles.

Wading Birds Sleep Standing Up

You’ll find that many wading birds such as egrets, herons and flamingos will sleep standing up in the water. This allows them to hear splashing sounds and feel the vibration of the water if any predators come too close.

Waterfowl Prefer To Sleep While They Float On The Water

Waterfowl just as ducks and geese will happily float on the water as they sleep during the night. They tend to congregate in flocks to offer better protection. Plus, the vibration of the water will alert them to any possible predators.

Roosting In Numbers Provides More Protection

Many common household visitors such as blackbirds and swallows will roost together in large numbers. They might choose to roost in your trees or even under the eaves.

These birds will usually take it in turns to stay awake and keep an eye out for possible predators.

Interesting Fact
Birds have two separate brains. Each eye feeds information to only one brain. Therefore, a bird can close one eye and sleep with the corresponding brain while the other eye stays open to watch out for predators.

How Do Birds Keep Warm On Cold Wintry Nights?

Most birds have adapted well to cold wintry nights and know how to stay warm when the temperature drops. Here are just a few things that birds do to keep warm at night.

  • Bird species such as hummingbirds enter a state of torpor when they sleep. This is a method that lowers their body temperature and slows their metabolism. Effectively, this helps the birds to conserve energy that they would otherwise be using to keep warm.
  • Other birds will use each other to stay warm. These birds will roost closely together so that they can share each other’s body heat. Not only does this provide them with extra warmth but it also gives them protection from possible predators.
  • If you’ve ever seen a bird sleeping, you’ll agree that it’s the cutest sight. Most birds will tuck their little beaks into their feathers while they’re sleeping. This allows them to breathe in the warm air generated by their body through the nostrils in their beaks. And, as you probably know, breathing warm air is much more pleasant.
  • Have you ever seen a bird with its feathers all fluffed up? They do this because it creates air pockets that act as insulation from the cold.
  • Birds also have a body temperature that is higher than a human’s. The average body temperature of a bird is around 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, their feet are supported by an intricate network of blood vessels. This blood flow keeps them from freezing on cold nights.

Other Nighttime Activities That Birds Enjoy

Although you’ll find that most birds will sleep at night, there are a couple of other activities that they might be involved in apart from sleeping.

Singing At Night

More than likely you’ve been woken during the night to a bird song. Some bird species such as the Northern Mockingbird, Whip-Poor-Will and Sedge Warbler have been known to sing all night long.

This is especially prominent when there’s a full moon or if you live in an area with lots of artificial street lights. These birds like to sing during this time because they’re advertising their territory and the surrounding silence means that their song can be heard further away.

Not only does this nighttime bird song keep predators away but it can also attract female birds during the mating season.

Migrating At Night

A lot of smaller birds such as sparrows and thrushes like to migrate during the night rather than the daytime. This is because large predatory birds such as eagles, hawks and other raptors need the daytime thermal currents to soar effectively through the sky.

Therefore, these birds of prey are not active during the night. This allows smaller birds to fly more safely without the fear of predators. Plus, birds also use the stars to navigate and the nighttime air is usually calmer than during the day.

What You Can Do To Provide Safe Roosting Places For Birds At Night

To keep your bird visitors safe at night, there are a few things that you can do to provide them with safe roosting spots.

  • Install a birdhouse or two. Not all birds will use these but many will be grateful for the provision of a safe place to sleep at night.
  • Keep the lights off in your barn, carport or porch. Quite often birds will seek out these places as they provide a safe haven during the night.
  • Hang up some roosting pockets. Roosting pockets are small wicker birdhouses that you can hang in a nearby tree or even under the eaves of your porch.
  • Plant some small evergreen trees if you have the space. These make ideal roosting places for birds at night because the foliage offers both protection and warmth.
  • Keep your shrubs and bushes well trimmed to encourage dense growth. Trimming your shrubs and bushes will keep them nice and dense. This gives birds plenty of nighttime cover and warmth. In fact, even hedging some of your plants will definitely keep the local bird population happy.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What do birds do at night time?

Most birds, except nocturnal ones like owls and nighthawks, sleep at night time just like humans.

Why do birds disappear at night?

Just like humans, birds sleep at night. Because they’re vulnerable to predators when they’re asleep, they’ll find places to hide to give them some protection.

What time to birds go to bed?

Most birds will go to bed when the sun goes down. They might wake up during the night at various times but they won’t venture out of their hiding places until the first light of dawn appears.

Final Thoughts

So, now you know where birds go at night. Generally, they don’t go too far except to find a nice, safe place to roost and sleep. Except for nocturnal birds such as owls who use the nighttime to hunt for food and prey.

However, on nights when the full moon is shining, you might hear a lot of bird song as the birds are awakened by the bright light of the moon.

Armed with this knowledge, you now have the ability to help the local bird population by providing lots of safe places where they can roost. This will not only keep them safe from predators but will also keep them warm on cold wintry nights.

Do you see where the birds in your neighborhood go at night? Have you watched them fly up into the branches of a tree or into the thicket of a bush? Please share your stories with us in the comments below.

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