Join the early birds on International Dawn Chorus Day


Spring brings with it the spellbinding natural symphony of the dawn chorus, and the Wildlife Trusts are encouraging us all to embrace it by taking part in International Dawn Chorus Day.

On Sunday 1st May 2011, Wildlife Trusts around the UK will be running early events from birdsong breakfasts to walks on urban and rural nature reserves. With expert guides on hand, there will be the chance to learn more about this dawn ritual, including which birds are singing and why. The dawn chorus is at its loudest in the first hour after sunrise — around 5am — so events start early, but it is well worth sacrificing a lie-in. Residents such as Blackbird and Song Thrush can be heard alongside summer visitors including Chiffchaff and Nightingale.

Nightingale, Whisby Nature Park, Lincolnshire (Photo: Dean Eades)

International Dawn Chorus Day was established by The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country in the 1980s, and their website has details of events taking place across the globe, as well as the latest stories and news about IDCD, and MP3s of various bird calls to listen to online.

Bill Oddie, Vice President of The Wildlife Trusts, said: "During my life I have experienced the dawn chorus all over the world: Africa, India, Australia, North and South America, various parts of Europe and so on. The sounds have been wondrous and various, and the atmosphere has often been magical, but you know what? If I want to experience the best dawn chorus of them all, all I have to do is stay right here, in Britain. Of course, International Dawn Chorus Day isn't some kind of avian song contest, but let's face it, British birds are unbeatable!"

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Song Thrush
Song Thrush, Keld, North Yorkshire (Photo: Spider Webb)

Paul Wilkinson, head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said: "It's not often we are able to actually hear the startling variety of wildlife that surrounds us, and the trials it faces. The dawn chorus takes place as birds are singing to attract a mate, or to defend territory, with each day bringing a new struggle for survival. On International Dawn Chorus Day we can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature, but also take time to reflect on the role we can all play in protecting it. This might be through turning our own gardens into wildlife havens, helping to create A Living Landscape or by becoming a member of a local Wildlife Trust."

Blackcap, Cuskinny Marsh, Cork (Photo: Ronan McLaughlin)

Dawn chorus events will take place both on, and around, International Dawn Chorus Day, with more details on the IDCD website. Details of The Wildlife Trusts' events can also be found online.

Written by: The Wildlife Trusts