I feel sorry for the birds on those short summer nights

The other night, I happened to be on a bicycle at a northerly latitude. Not only had the last light finally faded by 11.30 pm, but the glimmer of dawn began not long after 2.00 am. (Don’t ask why we were out on a bike at those hours). Soon after 2.00 am the birds began chattering, flapping about, doing their thing. I felt really sorry for them, tied as they are to the patterns of night and day. For weeks on end, they have really short nights, barely three hours’ sleep. And their days are incredibly long. With all that sleep deprivation, I wondered: Do they get cranky? Do they make tired mistakes when flying? What about the long term effects – weight gain, heart problems, high blood pressure? Do any birds actually go to bed early and sleep in?


8 thoughts on “I feel sorry for the birds on those short summer nights

  1. The blood pressure of cranky birds? THE BLOOD PRESSURE OF CRANKY BIRDS?!?

    This is the kind of flippancy, coarseness, and vulgarity which justly earned Shostakovitch his reproach after his anti-proletarian performance of Lady Macbeth. How, may I ask, does this post objectively contribute to Revolution?

    Honestly, it’s enough to drive me to read Alain Badiou’s article in the inaugural issue of The International Journal of Badiou Studies.





    1. Oh no …. Anyone’s fair game now. On journals, I really feel that theology should be able to come up with punchier journal names, as you find in other disciplines – Pain, Blood, Bone etc.

      So perhaps a couple of journals like Hell, Sin, Adultery, Punishment …

      1. I like this suggestion. There’s also a need for a journal that studies just what it is that theologians do, that treats their intellectual machinations as primary source material – a Journal of Meta-Theology, maybe.

        But back to your idea, The Journal of Total Depravity is a must! Jim West would certainly have to be on the advisory board.

  2. OK, amateur bird watcher here.
    In Oz a lot of flowers give nectar at greater rates early in the dawn and just before sunset so nectar feeding birds are more active at those times.
    Ditto with insects that are likely to be up and about at dawn and retire at dusk before the night shift mob emerge.
    So the nectar feeders and insectivores get up with the sun and retire when it does.
    Naturally this attracts the birds of prey at these peak times – dunno who they are where you are but I suppose there has to be some.

    So – birds are, generally, more active in the early and late parts of the day.

    In between they take nanna and poppa naps in their roosting spots, socialise a lot and generally just take life as easy as they can circumstances permitting.

    Whimsical response to what was, I presumed, a whimsical question.

    Oh, an addition, the body weights of birds, their metabolic rates, can vary enormously seasonally with things like food supplies [which may be tied to rain, temperature, light] breeding, feather replacement – whatever and can vary in some species, eg hummers, quite dramatically even on a daily basis.
    Fascinating critters.

    1. Yet in Oz they get a good night’s sleep. In places like Denmark or – even worse – Norway, they might get a couple of hours of darkness. And then there’s so much to do in the riot of spring and summer.

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