Martin Harvey's picture

Dawn choruses - how loud is yours?

The dawn chorus is still a real spectacle in the UK and over the world, but is it as good as it was? This week's Saving Species has been asking those of the older generation to tell us what they remember of the dawn display in and around the 1940s. All the signs indicate that the dawn chorus was much louder with many more voices in the past.

What's your experience? Do you still get an aural spectacular each morning, or is there too much other noise to hear it? Where was your best or loudest dawn chorus heard? Which species would be in your top ten of bird singers?

Let us know and we'll pass the information on to Saving Species.



Martin Harvey's picture

Guide to the dawn chorus in your garden

Here are the RSPB's top tips for enjoying the dawn chorus in your own garden.

Entomologist and biological recorder

djr7's picture

Dawn chorus day

Sunday 2nd May is International Dawn chorus day. So if I can, I am going to get up early - around 04.30 - on Sunday morning to listen to the dawn chorus and hopefully record it. I have downloaded the chorus recorded at Thmoas Hardy's house from the Saving Species page ready to compare it with what I hear.

Martin Harvey's picture

Richard Mabey on bird song

For another perspective on birds and why they sing have a listen to the excellent Richard Mabey on BBC Radio 3:

"Nature writer Richard Mabey reflects on his lifelong relationship with science and the natural world.

"He presents his own thoughts on why birds sing and recounts how writers through the ages have had wildly different interpretations on the meaning of birdsong. Including discussion on areas such as 13th-century ideas that it represented free will and individualism to musical computer analyses of birdsong which reveal the complex chords in a bird's voicebox."

Entomologist and biological recorder

Alladell's picture

Dawn chorus

Until I read this forum I confess it has not been a subject that I had thought about much, not because I do not care, but because I have lived with the sound all my life and taken it for granted; heard what I heard and filled in the gaps from memory.
Well this last couple of weeks I have stopped and listened, not just to the dawn but the evening chorus as well. It is different, now I cannot go back as fare as 1940s being born in the 1950s but my experience is from an early age being lucky to have had a father that enjoyed all the natural world could offer and passed that joy on to me. Is the chorus quieter than an earlier time depends were you are; I live on the surrey, Hampshire border and do my nature watching in variety of deferent locations; deep in country away from noise pollution dog walker etc I do not believe the chorus is quieter even allowing for my hearing over time. But in the noisier areas with the buss and wyss of motorways, dog walkers people; this pollution of noise cuts down the level of the chorus making it seem quieter. One observation, around the house that I now live in (I knew this house from my grandfathers day)there was much more wood land surrounding it, than their is now, this would naturally affect the number of birds around and the level of sound they make so the clearance of wood land in the sixties and seventies will have in that respect effected the chorus that we hear round us.
A second observation it does appear to me that the dawn chorus is starting later or should I say getting to its peek later.


Martin Harvey's picture

more dawn chorus

Interesting observations Alladell, glad the dawn chorus is holding up well in your part of the world.

There's more dawn chorus comment, about 'dawn' happening in the middle of the night, at:

Entomologist and biological recorder