How to experience the dawn chorus

International Dawn Chorus Day co-ordinator Joe Peacock explains how you can take part in the worldwide celebration of the dawn chorus. 

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Why should people get involved in International Dawn Chorus Day (IDCD)?

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It’s an exciting thing to be part of. You get the intimate feeling of being part of something very special where you are, but also every year, IDCD is getting more and more interactive, with content being shared from all across the world where people are doing the same activity, but in very different locations.

What makes the dawn chorus experience so special?

Sharing those very special moments when the natural world is waking up and this amazing chorus of birdsong is played out from all around you is something everyone should experience. I am not an expert birder, but have been with two brilliant walk leaders at our Wildlife Trust’s events at Moseley Bog and Hill Hook, Birmingham. Having someone who’s able to pass on that knowledge about birdsong and often other details about their habits is a really enriching experience.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to organise their own dawn chorus day event?

Find somewhere that people can get to which is likely to have a good number of birds. Nature reserves and national parks are great but not everyone is near one, so successful events have taken place in back gardens, sports grounds and all kinds of other venues. Woodlands produce the best choruses, but you shouldn’t rule out other places. Either train yourself up or try to find someone who can identify the birds if you want to know what it is you’re hearing. Otherwise, just enjoy the experience and the beautiful birdsong with friends. Find out more at the IDCD website.

How can people record their experience?

If they want to be able to go back and identify the birdsong, then recording it gives you the opportunity to do so. Make sure you don’t have the volume turned up if you do it on a phone or video camera as this might disturb the birds. Share your experiences on social media – use the hashtag #IDCD

Where can people go after the event to identify the birdsongs they have heard?

We have a few birdsong recordings on our website that were kindly given to us by The Wildlife Sound Recording Society, but they have a great collection on their website: http://www.wildlife-sound.org/ and BBC Radio Four also put a really good collection online a few years ago: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/science/birdsong.shtml

What should people do if they cannot find an event near them on the IDCD website?

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Contacting your local Wildlife Trust or other conservation organisations to see if they run events would be a good start. We hope that all the events are put on our website, but occasionally some are missed off. If there isn’t anything, you could either organise your own public event using the advice that’s on our website, or just doing it yourself in your garden with a few friends can be really special, too. You can still join in with people around the world via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook or however you want to share your experience.