Monday, 8 March 2010

throw your curtains open...

and with a hot cup of tea in your hand, listen to one of nature’s finest and free performances – the dawn chorus!

How to… listen for the dawn chorus

From early spring to summer, as day breaks, songbirds live up to their name by filling the air with music. It’s the males who sing the longest and loudest, for two reasons: to defend their territory and to attract a mate. It doesn’t matter whether you live in the town or country, you will hear the song of birds such as the robin or song thrush.

International Dawn Chorus Day

International Dawn Chorus Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in May, this year it is the 2nd of May. It began in the 1980s when the broadcaster and environmentalist Chris Baines held the first dawn chorus event on his 40th birthday. He asked everyone to attend at 4am so they could enjoy the party with him! There are now events throughout the world and you can find events near you on this website

Birds you can expect to hear in the British dawn chorus...

Song thrush - has a rich and varied song. Often one of the first birds to start off the dawn chorus.

Robin – has a sweet singing voice. Its familiar refrain can be heard in most gardens!

Blackbird – dressed smartly in black, the male has a beautiful, bubbling, warbling song.

Chiffchaff – helpfully this bird says its name “chiffchaff, chiffchaff” making it easy to recognise.

Nightingale – the famous song of the nightingale is fast and loud. This is an uncommon bird in the Cotswolds, you will be priviledged to hear it!

Wren – makes a lot of high pitched noise for such a small bird.

Great tit – has a two note song – “teacher teacher teacher”

Goldfinch – has a high, twittering song rather like a canary.

Starling – can alter its song by impersonating other birds and also car alarms and mobile phones!

Wood pigeon – very distinctive “co-coo-coo”

Blue tit – a small and colourful bird, sounds like “see,see,see” when it calls.

House sparrow – this bird “chirps” rather than sings.

Skylark – one of the earliest birds in the dawn chorus, coining the phrase “up with the lark”.

Chaffinch – this common garden bird has a short and cheerful song.

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