If you step out into your garden or open your window an hour before sunrise this Sunday, you’ll be greeted with the rippling notes and whistles of Robins, the melodious fluting song of Blackbirds and the confident cry of Song thrushes; it is, of course, International Dawn Chorus Day and this year it’s even easier to celebrate from the comfort of your own home.
According to research, the delightful symphony will be more audible this spring than it has been for decades due to expected quieter roads and reduced aircrafts in the sky as a result of lockdown.
For this reason, Natural England is encouraging the nation to tune into the chirrup of Britain’s most-loved birds as they defend their territories and attract a mate for the breeding season.
Chair of Natural England, Tony Juniper says: ‘Across the UK, people can enjoy this vibrant annual manifestation of life happening right next to where we live, including in the heart of our biggest cities.
‘This wonderful celebration of life is all the more important during this difficult period, when it is vital to appreciate everyday things. Now is an especially good time to connect with this annual natural wonder, when our birds have less competition from the roar of planes and traffic.’
Recent sound recordings, taken by engineering consultancy firm 24 Acoustics found that a 90 per cent reduction in traffic results in a significant 10-decibel reduction in noise pollution. At one Guildford site, noise levels have dropped by up to 8 decibels since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
Their ‘intelligent noise monitoring’ systems usually record sounds of traffic, construction, and aircraft flyovers. However, birdsong has become clearer in their ambient noise recordings since lockdown began.
Director of 24 Acoustics, Reuben Peckham told The Daily Mail
: ‘The environmental benefits of the lockdown in terms of reduced air pollution and cleaner waters have already been documented. Many may have also noticed that birdsong this year appears louder than normal.
‘This is because ambient noise levels are significantly lower, birdsong is more audible and noticeable, which is a very pleasant side-effect of the current lockdown.’
Tony has relished being absorbed into this unusually clear sound of songbirds while being at home. He recommends slightly before 5.30am as a good time to tune into nearby birds.
‘There is no need to feel daunted by the mix of sounds and trying to work out what they all are,’ adds Tony.
‘Tuning into the continuity of the natural world can bring great comfort and calm, and at a troubled time like this all the more so.
‘The daily morning chorus of birdsong is to this extent a reminder that as the world turns, so new cycles will come, including the turns that will eventually take us to the dawn of the world that lies beyond the crisis of today.’
Taking place on the first Sunday of May, International Dawn Chorus Day is the worldwide celebration of nature's most special phenomena. From a small Birmingham event in the 1980s, the day has grown into a global annual celebration, enjoyed in over eighty countries.
While there are no early morning walking events taking place this year, you can gather virtually with thousands of others to listen to the sound of birds singing. The tunes can also be enjoyed while doing exercise in accordance with current government guidelines
Other birds you may hear include the Blackcap, the Chiffchaff, the Wren and the Great Tit. The Wildlife Trusts has an audible library to help you identify some of the star performers you may hear in the dawn chorus. You can listen to them here