This Sunday, 1 May 2022, the RSPB is asking people to wake up to the Dawn Chorus as nature’s best singers start the day by serenading each other, advertising that love is in the air and spring has sprung.
Every year as the days start to get longer and warmer weather arrives, people begin to contact the RSPB about the birdsong they hear every morning as the dawn chorus starts to build.
This year, on International Dawn Chorus Day, the RSPB is not just asking people to wake up to the dawn chorus but also to wake up to the fact this national treasure is under threat with many of the UK’s favourite birds in decline.
The dawn chorus is the time when our birds sing to each other, taking advantage of the quiet. As the sun rises, birdsong will build over the course of an hour to announce they are looking for love. It happens at this time of year because the weather is warmer, food more abundant and new growth offers new places to nest – and the birds that live in the UK all year long are joined by those who fly here every summer from Africa to raise a family and give the next generation the best possible start.
Beccy Speight, chief executive of the RSPB said: “We love our wildlife here in the UK and people are interested in what they can hear in the Dawn chorus and why it happens at this time of year. We get so many calls from people to say how much they love listening but questioning whether it’s as loud as is once was. The answer is no, we have lost around 40 million birds from our skies in the UK since 1966, and many of the nation’s favourite birds are continuing to decline. Which does mean, although still spectacular, the dawn chorus is losing its singers.”
Some of the best places to experience the dawn chorus are at over 200 RSPB reserves. And to help everyone experience this natural wonder, the RSPB has organised a festival of events at over 30 locations across the UK, with experts available to help people learn how to identify birds by their song. The dawn chorus festival will also be taking over social media as the RSPB will be streaming birdsong online from different locations.
Top tips for enjoying the Dawn Chorus Day festival:
- Get ready for an early start, the best time to hear the dawn chorus will be about 5am, so get an early night and set your alarm – or better still, just open your window the night before and be woken gradually as the birdsong builds
- Get out in nature, it will sound wonderful in your garden or through the window, but the best way to experience these beautiful songs is at a nature reserve or wild space where the different songs will carry furthest
- Enjoy the dawn chorus. If you're out early, you're likely to hear skylarks, song thrushes, robins and blackbirds. Birds like wrens and warblers prefer a more leisurely start, and often won't begin singing until the sun comes up
Share with your friends and family –around the world people will be using #DawnChorusDay to share their pictures and stories of the festival and this international celebration of birdsong
Or, if you want to enjoy International Dawn Chorus Day without leaving your bed, join the RSPB on Facebook to hear the dawn chorus streamed live from different locations.
Beccy Speight added: “Listening to birdsong is the perfect way to wake up, and the dawn chorus is a natural wonder we can all enjoy wherever we are. But for our birds this amazing song is a serious business as they are looking for love, declaring where they live and that they are looking to build a home to raise a family.
“Even if you are not going to be getting up at first light we are asking everyone to wake up to the dawn chorus, a natural spectacle that is under threat. Whether it is the familiar birds of our parks and gardens or the songs of the birds found in our woodlands, farmlands and coasts, we need to protect the dawn chorus for future generations, which includes our politicians turning their promises to halt wildlife decline into the action required.”
Visit our festival pages if you want to find out more about International Dawn Chorus Day, top tips for hearing birdsong and the range of festival events being organised.