This Sunday it’s International Dawn Chorus Day (3rd May 2015) so why not get up really early in fact at least an hour before sunrise and you will be rewarded with one of natures finest events – The Dawn Chorus, the best time to listen is between late April and early June this is when you will hear the most species singing. Birds will start to sing an hour before sunrise peaking half an hour before and half an hour after sunrise, birds seem to take it in turns to sing, some of the first birds to sing are Blackbirds, Song Thrush, Robins followed by Finches, Dunnocks and Sparrows and then the smaller birds such as Wrens and Warblers.
So why do birds sing?
The main reasons for singing in Spring are to:
- Claim and guard a territory – They tell other birds that their patch is occupied and that a territory exists.
- Attract a mate – The stronger and better their song is, the more likely they are to be a good partner and attract a mate.
Birds can make different calls which can either be to indicate a source of food, keep their flock together or to warn of danger from predators.
Some birds such as Great Tits and Blue Tits have more than one song which can be confusing, if you are new to bird watching and not familiar with identifying birds songs there are many organised events taking place on Sunday and throughout May, you can go on a guided walk with an expert who will help you to identify the birds that you hear. It can be quite chilly so early in the morning, wear plenty of warm and waterproof clothes, take a hot drink, a note pad and your binoculars or camera; some events have breakfast included!
A word of caution some birds are very talented and can mimic the songs of other birds, one such bird is the Starling. We have Starlings at home that sit on the gutter and sing their little hearts out, they do sing their own song but they are also very good at imitating a Curlew, Lapwing, Heron, Gull, Sparrow and a Hen, they really are amazing.
It really is worth the effort getting up early on Sunday to listen to the Dawn Chorus, you can always have a lie in the day after – it’s a Bank Holiday.