International Dawn Chorus Day 2020
Today we celebrate birdsong around the world with International Dawn Chorus 2020!
The magic of the Dawn Chorus is best experienced by being immersed right in it!
You need to set your alarm clock for Very Early O’Clock (around 4.30am!), wrap up super warm, and go out into your garden (for now) to let the song wash over you. If you can’t bear that there are other ways, like opening your window and listening from the comfort of your bed!
Different species start singing at different times. Robins are adapted to low light and so start singing first. Song may carry up to 20 times as far in the still morning air. As it gets light enough to see properly, birds then are able to seek out their breakfast, and so the chorus gradually diminishes.
Why do birds sing at all? This is a really complex and big question and birds communicate with sound in so many different ways, not only using song. See Birdlife for a great article on this. They are proclaiming territory, they are doing their best to attract a mate, and they are stimulating their mates to come into condition to lay. Amazingly, song is learned before they even hatch from the egg! Read Tim Birkhead‘s amazing book Bird Sense for an in-depth look.
Lets look at a very common bird, the Wren. It sings 64 notes in 8 seconds and so to us this sounds a bit of a blur! Check out this a brilliant BBC clip by wildlife sound recordist genius Chris Watson in which he slows the recording of a wren’s song down to 50% and 25% allowing us to see “something of the wealth and depth of information that’s in birdsong.”
WHAT DID THE BIRDSONG EVER DO FOR US?
Birdsong is not just good for birds, it is good for us too! As well as being something to marvel at – skylarks can pour out around 200 notes per second! – humans find birdsong beautiful, and there are endless outpourings as we try to capture this magic in words and art – just think of John Keat’s Ode to a Nightingale.
“While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!”
As weak as an aesthetic experience, bird song tickles parts of us that we are still learning about. An article in The Guardian last year talked of scientific studies on the “Restorative effects of birdsong” and how birdsong is a fabulous antidote to our stressful lives.
WHAT BIRD IS IT?
Here are some great guides to help you ID what you are hearing!
Plus lots of cool info on bird song
And Why do birds sing at night?
And a fun RSPB bird ID key based on features, habitats and more.
Good spotting and enjoy!
This is a fantastic adventure for kids and adults. We climbed a massive oak tree (myself and my two boys 11 and 16) … You climb the tree in your own time I went up once and sat and admired the view for a while but my youngest boy managed to go up and down three times. The price of the ticket included access to Bowhill grounds which as the sun was shining was great to walk around and there is also a courtyard coffee shop. All Highly recommended.