As the days get longer and the sun rises earlier, it is becoming (slightly) easier for me to get out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off.

Lately, however, I haven’t needed an alarm. The unabashedly vocal birds that have taken up residence right outside of my window announce the coming of the day well before my alarm clock fills the room with its artificial beeping noises.

It wouldn’t be a problem if my avian neighbors would just hold off on their morning songs until at least 6 a.m. If we could somehow synchronize our daily schedules — keeping in mind, of course, that I like to sleep in on the weekends — I think we could have a very friendly relationship.

But, alas — as the dawn continues to come earlier and earlier each morning, so does the chirping. And that, quite frankly, just isn’t cool.

If you’ve ever rolled over and covered your head with your pillow in a desperate attempt to block out the singing and catch a few extra Z’s, you’re not alone. Curious to know what, exactly, causes our feathered friends to rise at such an inconvenient hour, I set out to do some online research.

Turns out, “early birds” are a popular topic of discussion in a variety of online forums. Here’s the lowdown:

Birds chirp to communicate, and you can blame that initial morning song on the males, who sing to announce that they are alive, alert and ready to defend their territory. Apparently, the earlier they make that announcement, the better. Also, apparently their manly bird song is super attractive to potential mates.

It might be annoying, but I guess we should all just be thankful that human males do not perform the same ritual.

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.