What bird would be active at night?


Probably the most bizarre thing just occurred to me tonight, I was so surprised. 

I walked to my back door and what I thought was a massive moth flew from my backdoor onto my shed about a meter away. Only until I saw it properly did it realise it was a dunnock/small brown bird. I didn’t realise birds would be active at this time (except for the obvious nocturnal birds), so it surprised me.

Is this more likely to be a bird or a bat?

It looked very similar to the juvenile dunnocks present in my garden, would this be? 


  • Morning Ellis,

    I'm wrong more times than right, but I think the answer might lie in 

    ellis187 said:
    I walked to my back door

    and in the definition of "active".

    Here, Black Redstarts take their youngsters to a safe roost. So, say on the stone lintel of our kitchen window.

    If I were to walk past that window in the night, there'd be a good chance they would leave. Probably making it to our neighbour's greenhouse, around 10 to 12 m away. So, moving from a no-longer-safe perch to a safe perch.

    On birds active at night, I was out on Saturday morning at around 5 and could hear the Swifts passing through the garden. Over an hour before sunrise. No hint of dawn.

    All the best -


  • Oh, and over-lighting can lead to some activity too.

    When I was a kid, Blackbirds would sing through the night in proximity to a nearby motorway.

    Here, over-lighting (so, unnecessary light levels) of various buildings has Redstarts singing at 3:00 am.

    All the best -
  • In reply to Dave - CH:

    Thanks, I see what you mean. I watched again last night as the dunnocks (parent and child) hopped by my backdoor again, had a little look around but flew away pretty quickly. One of my neighbours has a big security light that shines a little towards my house so that definitely adds to the light levels. Thanks
  • In reply to ellis187:

    You're welcome Ellis.

    But maybe other Community members have other explanations?

    Or, it could be either Mothman or Owlman. But there I reveal myself as a long-time subscriber to Fortean Times.

    All the best - 


  • We have Robins that used to sing most of the night on local street lamps, since our local council set the lights to go off at midnight the Robins seem to go quiet then. We also have a couple of Song Thrushes that seem to be active most of the night.


    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can