The first thing the title tells us is the form of the poem, the ode. But it's not just any ode, it's an ode that is addressed "to" its subject. Throughout the poem, the speaker talks to the nightingale as if it were a person. The title helps set up this little trick. The "nightingale" is a bird that is known for singing at night – and beautifully, at that. But nightingales also play an important role in the history of poetry. For more on that, see "In a Nutshell."