In the spring, summer, and early fall, I love reading on our deck overlooking the back lawn after dinner in the evening. It is a time of settling at the end of the day. The breezes catch the lush fragrance of our sweet bay magnolia blossoms as the sun begins to slip down in the western sky. The pages of the book in my lap invite me to venture into other worlds, places, and ideas as the sunlight retreats into shade across my shoulders. It is a gentle time of the day as I sit sipping my tea.
In summer, fireflies gradually begin to appear across the lawn, but before they make their appearance the summer evening chorus begins. Across the lawn and the neighborhood, birdsong echoes and reverberates in serenade. As I listen, I wonder which bird is making the song. I know that if my youngest granddaughter were at my side she could likely tell me. Her great love of birds and knowledge about them astounds me. She knows their habitat, their eating habits, their song, and so much more. In this, she reminds me of the extent of the details about every created thing and I am awed by that evidence of our Creator.
Listening to the chorus, I consider what a gift their melodies create. Even though they sing at many other times, it is at this time of the day when I have stopped rushing about that I hear them best. Why do they sing then?
A search online gives some clues about their singing habits. I discover that many birds are diurnal and governed by the rhythm of light and dark. In the morning, it is the robin and redstart that begins the chorus, with many sparrows and finches being the last to join in. As the sun begins to descend in the evening sky, the chorus begins again but this time it is the sparrows and finches that begin with the robins and other birds joining last. Later, the nocturnal birds pick up the refrain.
Some of the songs relate to feeding or mating. Some believe they are calling out to let all know that they made it through the day and are alive, well, and in the area. Some believe they are communicating they have found a good place to roost while others believe it is because night predators will soon pose a risk and they are calling their kind back to their nests to roost. Even so, the potential deeper meanings are not understood.
Perhaps it is creation’s lullaby for the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve and serves as a reminder of God’s presence. Perhaps it serves to remind us to call those we love to return to the safety of home. Perhaps it serves to remind us to allow our own voices to celebrate the day and reminds us we have made it safely.
I am not sure it is so important for me to know why they sing, but instead that I enjoy the chorus with its crescendos and decrescendos and offer praise to the One who created the song.