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The lyrics to Nighttime Birds, the title track from the album of the same name by The Gathering, are as follows:

Their ways are open
they spread as their wings
they want to be certain
of a warm surrounding

When they fly
through the night as beautiful
nighttime birds

The warm wind picks them up

When they fly
through the night as beautiful
nighttime birds

I'm particularly interested in the lines "they want to be certain / of a warm surrounding" and "The warm wind picks them up". Why is this associated with nighttime birds? Typically, you wouldn't associate "night" with "warm winds" and wanting to be sure of a warm surrounding, but the lyrics are quite specific that they want to be certain of a warm surrounding "when they fly through the night."

Or, are they merely seeking warmth in the midst of the night?

A third (rather literal) interpretation is that the song's referring to the fact that migrating birds tend to try to catch warmer "updrafts" by opening their wings to "catch" it. There are a few birds that are either nocturnal or frequently migrate at night, so I suppose that it's plausible at least that the author was thinking of that.

Is there an authoritative source on which one the author was referring to? Or are there other possibilities that I'm not thinking of?

  • 1
    A "bird" can be a colloquialism for a woman. A night-time bird, then, might be a "woman" "of the night". This would mean the warmth, instead of being thermal, might be ... hormonal. – EngrStudent Nov 6 '17 at 20:58

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