How to wake up correctly every day

If you’re not screaming since the early morning, what’s the point?

Zuzanna Żak


Whenever I think I managed to wake up early, I look around and see that birds are already out and about. The sun is barely up, and they’re up already.

Maybe it’s because they’re excited to see what their day will bring. Maybe it’s because they know that anything can happen when the sun is up and you have to face life head-on again. Maybe it’s because a calm and quiet morning is the best entourage to start your day with a scream.

Not so early morning (about 8:00am) in a pond in Świnoujście, Poland.
Not so early morning (about 8:00 am) in Świnoujście, Poland.

Wake up like a redshank

I’ve spent last week waking up the earliest I could, putting on the warmest clothes I had packed, and going out to the marshes to observe some feathery friends.

The most inspiring behavior I found in birds I met then was in redshanks.

The common redshank is a small wading bird that lives in marshes, ponds, and lakes. It has a black head, breast, and back with a white stripe down the middle of its belly, black wings, and tail.

Lip Kee —
Common redshank by Lip Kee

There was one redshank, always seen on their favorite stick half-submerged in the pond, perfect to stand on.

At precisely 07:35 am, on consecutive days, redshank started screaming and flew on that favorite stick, and just stayed there.

I wondered — shouldn’t the redshank swim a bit to find some food? Did they do that already when I couldn’t spot them in the reed? What’s so important about that stick?

But as I had a lot of time to sit and observe the redshank, I realized that it has been a while since I woke up with such energy as this redshank did, excited to sit on a stick or do anything else that I like as much as this small bird liked their stick.

So here’s a lesson from the redshank…



Zuzanna Żak

Field recordist, bird song participant, early morning enjoyer. Use my 🦆 recordings: