International Dawn Chorus Day, which celebrates “nature’s greatest symphony” otherwise known as birdsong, takes place tomorrow [Sunday 2 May 2021].
Whether you get up early or go to bed later in the morning, people around the world will be revelling in the sweet sound of birdsong – from the cooing of pigeons, the serenade of robins and blackbirds, the chatter of house sparrows through to the laughing calls of herring gulls – as part of International Dawn Chorus Day.
The first Dawn Chorus Day was organised by environmentalist and broadcaster Chris Baines in the 1980s when he held his birthday party at 4am so that all of his guests could listen to the dawn chorus together. What began as a small annual event in the city of Birmingham has now spread right across the UK and is even celebrated in parts of Antarctica and the Caribbean.
In the UK, spring and early summer is dawn chorus time. From March to July, birds defend their territories and sing to attract a mate. Songbirds time their breeding season to the warmest part of the year, when there is plenty of food and lots of daylight in which to find it. As winter turns to spring, the lengthening daylight switches male songbirds into breeding mode.
The first songsters of the season are residents such as robins and great tits, joined later on by migrants like chiffchaffs and blackcaps to make May and June the peak time to enjoy the dawn chorus.
As part of the International Dawn Chorus Day, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) are hosting Dawn Chorus Live, which will feature live footage of the dawn chorus as it happens across the UK, plus commentary.
The RSPB have created an audio guide and a bird identifier so that you people can get to know the different bird songs, and get to know the birds that sing in their area.