International Dawn Chorus Day – Upland Birds

Redshank standing on one leg on a post

This Sunday, 7th May, is International Dawn Chorus Day, a day to celebrate the natural wonder of bird song. This first dawn chorus days, were small events held in Birmingham in the 1980s. Since then the event has grown and now has a worldwide following. Each year the Wildlife Trusts, RSPB and other organisations hold events to celebrate the sounds of birds singing as the sun rises.

This is great and I do enjoy a dawn chorus, I grew up on the edge of Sherwood Forest so I know how special a woodland at dawn can be. However, I do feel that passerines have had far too much of the publicity when it comes to the dawn chorus. Robins, blackbirds, song thrushes, blackcaps or maybe even a nightingale, all seem to have better publicists and PR teams than waders and other upland birds.

With that in mind I set out to record my own dawn chorus in the hills of Shetland. I am fortunate to be staying in a cottage that overlooks some excellent wader habitat so I set up a timelapse camera to record the sunrise and armed with a Wildlife Acoustics, Inc. Song Meter headed off into the hills to capture the upland dawn chorus. After a few false starts (there aren’t many mornings when wind noise isn’t an issue in Shetland) and quite a bit of editing, this video and accompanying soundtrack is my tribute to the sounds of the uplands at dawn. Hopefully it might inspire you to get up early and enjoy it for yourself this International Dawn Chorus Day.