Where do birds go at night?
The fascinating adventure of where birds go at night has been a mystery for centuries. Although some species migrate to other climates for the wintertime, many birds simply go to sleep for the night. But where exactly do they go?
Roosting, or finding a safe place to sleep for the night, is the typical nightly activity for birds. They usually flock to a roosting site that is protected from inclement weather and predators, such as trees and bushes. The birds tuck themselves in and go to sleep until morning.
Some species also practice colonial roosting, in which they group together in trees in large numbers. For example, great egrets, cattle egrets, and snowy egrets congregate in trees at night and sleep in their communal roost.
Flock roosting is another unique behavior of birds. Many species, such as starlings, kookaburras, and flamingos, form large flock formations when roosting, usually to increase their safety. When a flock of birds roosts together, they are more aware of disturbances and can take evasive action as a group. At night, these flocks form protective “roofs” by clustering closely together, so they can both keep warm and keep an eye on potential predators.
Safety & Comfort
Bird roosts can vary widely, ranging from open branches to dense foliage. The most important aspect of a roost is safety and comfort. Roosts should be free from danger and provide birds with protection from harsh weather and predators.
Birds typically roost for the night in a sheltered and safe location. Colonial roosting and flock roosting are two common behaviors that birds exhibit to increase their safety. When birds find a roost, they will look for safety and comfort, which is the most important factor to consider when selecting a roosting spot.