Jock and The Dawn Chorus
The RSPB are experts on the dawn chorus and you can read more on their web site Voices of Spring
From March to July Jock doesn’t need an alarm clock, with songbirds singing their little hearts out from about an hour before sunrise.
It is the breeding season, and the longer hours of daylight sets the males into breeding mode. Lying in his comfy bed Jock enjoys his morning wake up call, listening up for the order of play! He is wakened by the skylarks, song thrushes, robins and blackbirds, then the wrens and warblers join in-they eat insects which don’t appear till slightly later. There’s not enough light for foraging, making insects and seeds harder to find, so this is the perfect time to sing out for a mate. The down side of all this loud singing is it tells predators where they are, so again it’s best done in the dim first light.
There’s less background noise, and the air at dawn is often stiller, so song can carry up to 20 times as well as at noon.
As the light becomes stronger it makes food easier to find, so the hungry birds move off to find breakfast, and the chorus tails off.
Singing uses up lots of energy, so the fittest, best fed males produce the strongest songs to impress the females. They choose the best singers because these strong males will have the best territories, be good at raising chicks, and pass on good genes to their young.
Why not get up with the lark to enjoy the dawn chorus! The best time to listen is half an hour before and after sunrise, but the RSPB advises getting into position a good hour before sunrise to enjoy the performers as they each take their turn on stage. Choose a fine clear morning with little wind.
The dusk chorus isn’t as dramatic, but all the same there is a noticeable increase in song during spring evenings, and Jock thinks some the tree sparrows and blue tits even prefer to sing then.
Here’s the RSPB bird song playlist to help you identify birds from their song: RSPB: What Bird is That?
This is part of the Birds In Spring information.