A couple of days ago i had two Chiffchaffs feeding in the garden in one of my mature Pear trees. Nothing unusual about this but both were singing. For many years now i have heard these birds erupt into song in September and late August. It is a real treat to hear them sing when the countryside has fallen silent save for the Robins but why do they do it? Why invest in song when you are about to migrate and not be in the process of establishing a territory or finding a mate. I would love some feedback from anyone who might know why these delightful birds always seem to resort to song again out of season.
i have asked the exact same question with the same species of bird and one theory i was given is that roughly the same length of daylight hours appear now as when the birds first arrived in spring in full song,so there is something there that triggers them off,probably very unscientific and a load of cobblers ,but i seem to buy it.Any other theories
Interesting theory Dave. I have also been struck by the number of birds singing in the last week or two, notably Robins and Wrens, but Chiff Chaffs and Willow Warblers have been singing in Shapwick NNR. My theory was that they are marking territory again before leaving it for the winter but day length could also be a trigger.
With breeding over, this is the time of year birds hold X Factor!
There was a tweet from @_BTO this morning suggesting that the singing Chiffchaffs are juvenile males practising as they migrate.
Interesting theories. I'm not sure what the right answer is either, though I remember seeing a singing Greenish Warbler in Norfolk some years ago, in September and therefore probably (but not definitely) a first-winter bird, which would support the practising theory.
A Chiffchaff singing in the garden this morning, probably also a migrant.
'Eggs' Factor. (sorry)
Thank you all for taking the time to reply to my posting. I have often thought that it was temperature and light that caused the Chiffchaffs to sing again at this time of year, yet all explanations seem highly plausible. I also enjoyed the eggstremely poor humour!
Chiffchaff singing strongly this afternoon at Coleford Primary School. Made getting soaked whilst collecting the Children slightly more enjoyable.
I'm not sure about the X Factor, Eggs Factor either, but one was singing beautifully here in Norton this afternoon.
I've often thought it might be young males practicing ready for next year, I'd also agree with the fact that they could be marking their territory for next year. Whatever, we will never know for sure, but they certainly are a joy to hear.
Incidentally, Britain has definitely got talent.