There’s a Soul Coughing song whose lyrics occasionally repeat the theme: “It is 5am…and you are listening…to Los Angeles.”
But other than annoying radio jerks M. Doughty listened to while he was tripping on acid five years ago and the occasional siren, what is there to listen to at this ungodly hour?
Over the last couple of nocturnal insomniac weeks, I’ve found the answer to that question (at least in Venice) is: Birds.
There’s a flock of birds, or at least a few, that sit near my apartment and start tweeting away right around 5am. I think that roughly corresponds with the first streams of light peeking over the mountains, but I’m not sure.
The birds start their tweeting right around the time that I’m normally juuuuust about to fall asleep. The second my eyelids start to get heavy from reading a boring history book, the songs begin.
I hear it, and I’m instantly awake. It’s like I’ve been magically transported back to 1734, and I’m waking up to a goddamn rooster instead of some little birds that should, by all sound design theory, be drowned out by traffic.
I don’t know what kind of birds they are. Definitely not pigeons or seagulls, and those are really the only two types of bird I’ve ever seen out here. I think they might be sparrows, but it occurs to me that sparrows may not live this far west or south.
A cursory Googling leads to not much information on the birds of Southern California, and I have not yet reached the tipping point of enough boredom to go to the library and research this further.
So for now, the incessant chirping will just drive me mad, without much knowledge of the source, beyond the fact that it’s definitely not coming from a pigeon or a seagull. Or a dog.