I invite you to check out the time of sunrise, it is slightly different each morning. Then set your alarm to wake you in plenty of time to get outside. The birds begin singing at least an hour before dawn, and you need time to reach your destination if you are walking out to a specific location. So this can be very early indeed!
You can always step into your own garden or walk somewhere near you where there are trees or hedgerows.
Of course, you can simply open your window and listen, but walking out into the dark and completely entering the experience is truly incredible. You might be lucky enough to catch the very first bird, followed by a building crescendo as the rest join in. You can watch as the sky changes colour while you listen to the dawn chorus in all its beauty. You may even see a Barn Owl, as I did one time, swooping down to catch the last of its nightly feeds.
Practical tip: Wear some layers, including gloves and a hat. It can be chilly when you are standing still for half an hour or more at this time of the morning!
Why does the Dawn Chorus Happen?
At this time of year, the birds are starting their families. So the male shows off in order to attract a mate or renew bonds with an existing one. He will also sing to defend his territory, demonstrating his strength with especially loud calls. During these early hours of the morning the birds’ voices travel further because there is less background noise, less active air currents and temperatures are lower. More details here.
You will never regret making a specific intention to get up early and spend time focusing on nature as you listen to the dawn chorus, even just one time this spring! It’s an opportunity to appreciate and enjoy nature, experiencing profound wonder at all its beauty. A chance to fully immerse yourself in presence, using all of your senses.
You may be quite used to early starts if you commute to your place of work, and may be familiar with seeing the sunrise. But it’s less likely you hear the sound of the birds awakening, especially if you are travelling in a train or a car. Making the time to listen to the dawn chorus is an uplifting thing to do!
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
International Dawn Chorus Day
International Dawn Chorus Day is the first Sunday in May. (2 May 2021)
You may find an event near you that you can join in. These are often run at Nature Reserves. Details are here, in this link, as well as recordings to help you identify some of the most common birdsong.
An online event you may enjoy begins the evening before International Dawn Chorus Day:
‘Join The Nest Collective online from 11pm on Saturday 1 May for a spoken-word journey, hosted by Sam Lee through some of the finest poems and writings celebrating the nightingale, the wonder of birds and the natural world.’
Details here: Singing with Nightingales: Dawn Chorus Online Event 2021
Follow this link for: A Snippet of the Dawn Chorus I recorded on 21 April 2021
More interesting links: