The nightingale is a migratory songbird native to Europe and Southwest Asia. Not a beautiful bird, the nightingale is brown above and light below, with a reddish tail.
Despite its drab appearance, the nightingale sings liltingly, day and night. The bird’s ancient name derives, in fact, from the Anglo-Saxon for “night songstress”.
It is actually the male bird that sings. Not to be outdone, nightingales sing more loudly in urban environments, presumably to offset competing noise.
Nightingales have inspired poets, musicians, and sweethearts since time immemorial. The great poet, John Milton, wrote of the nightingale in Paradise Lost: “…as the wakeful Bird Sings darkling, and in shadiest Covert hid Tunes her nocturnal Note .”
“The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me — a prayer to the God of my life” (Ps. 42: 8).
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