Catch the early bird

A bird at dawn chorus © Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

Now is the time to set the alarm for early morning (really early morning!) and enjoy the beautiful sounds of the dawn chorus.

In spring, the dawn chorus starts just before first light and a multitude of birds fill the air with their song. As the nesting and breeding seasons begin, the birds are calling out to mark their territories and to encourage prospective mates.

Trees at dawn

© Ross Hoddinott/2020VISION

Why so early?
Researchers have found out that bird song at dawn can be up to 20 times more effective than at mid-day, most likely because the air is quiet and sound travels further. Different birds can be heard at different times, with the earliest risers starting at around 4 am. 

Who's who?

Can you hear the distinctive chiffchaff – its song sounds like its name, a high-pitched “chiff chaff” – or the blackcap with its joyful fluting song that has earned it the name “northern nightingale”?

Listen to the blackbird with its rich, melodious song or the wren’s call - which is surprisingly loud compared to its size - or the loud bursts of Cetti’s warblers and the constant chirping of reed warblers.

Robins are one of the earliest risers - their song is loud and confident. Blue tits let out a loud and high-pitched "tsee-tsee-tsee-chu-chu-chu".

Depending on where you go, there's lots more to discover!

Listen to the dawn chorus

Chiffchaff

© Jean Roch

Blackbird

Wren

Cetti's warbler

Reed Warbler

Robin

Blue Tit

The full dawn chorus

Where to go?

The dawn chorus is happening everywhere around us - in our city centres and gardens as well as woodlands, wetlands and wildflower meadows. Find a quiet spot - ideally undisturbed of traffic - just close your eyes and listen! 

If you're stuck for ideas, check out the dawn chorus in one of our reserves or join one of our dawn chorus walks on International Dawn Chorus Day!

Thorley Wash

A wonderful wetland reserve south of Bishop's Stortford, colourful wildflowers and elusive water voles. 

Find out more

© Jenny Sherwen

Frogmore Meadows

A great example of damp grassland habitat, a mass of beautiful wildflowers and buzzing with bees and butterflies in summer. 

Find out more

Longspring Wood

A small woodland and wildlife haven in Kings Langley, an oasis nestled behind a residential area.

Find out more

Longspring Wood Nature Reserve © Josh Kubale