Naomi Eide, University of Maryland, College Park | April 23, 2015 04:15pm ET
Naomi Eide is a master's student in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. She contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
Just before dawn, birds wreak havoc on the stillness, cackling and calling to the world that spring has arrived and that it is time to mate. It's 6:32 on Easter morning, the sunrise is 14 minutes away, and the world is a hazy mosaic of muted colors, too pale to call yellow or orange.
A golden-crowned sparrow sings its three descending notes, sounding mournful in a minor key among the cheerful songs of avian neighbors. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's guide, many say the golden-crowned sparrow's whistles sound like a phrase, such as "I'm so tired" or "Oh, dear me." The air is bustling with the songs of flirting birds, yet sleeping houses remain blissfully unaware that nature's instinct has taken over with the change in day length.