My Big Night Out Playing with the Nightingales of Berlin

Berlin may be the best city in the world in which to jam with nightingales. The place is full of Luscinia megarhynchos, the Common Nightingale, a small brown bird with a song that can go on for hours, any time of day, really, but especially between midnight and 4 a.m.

Contrary to early mythology, it’s the males that do the singing, and they are relentlessly loyal to specific sites. Some prefer the tops of lamp posts at especially loud street corners, and nothing can dissuade them from keeping to their avowed territorial spots. They return year after year to the same tree, or the same traffic light, depending on the disposition of the bird. Of course you never know what kind of crazy people or crazy birds will be wandering around a former East German park at night amid Soviet war memorials, drug-dealer hideouts, and romantic riverside paths ...

— David Rothenberg in Public Standard